Religion News Australia

August 2 – 9, 2015

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Jehovah’s Witness church says it will comply with mandatory reporting of child abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 4 – The Jehovah’s Witness church says it will comply with mandatory reporting obligations when they learn about sexual abuse crimes against children in their congregation.

Newcastle Anglican diocese committed to changing ‘culture of fear’ (ABC News)
Aug 6 – Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson says he is preparing for the harsh realities that a royal commission probe into the diocese may bring.



Sects in Australia: Fringe religious groups that have left their mark on the nation (Perth Now)
Aug 9 – OSCAR-WINNER Cate Blanchett‘s debut as director will tell the story of a woman who flees a cult only to fall into a nightmare of imprisonment and government detention.



Melbourne teacher receives threats and moves schools after being accused of ‘teaching evil’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 4 – A Melbourne primary school teacher received threats and had to quit his job after telling students that some of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions were terrorists.


Religious Violence

Islamic State selling sex slaves, the younger the better, claims UN official (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 4 – New York: Islamic State is circulating a slave price list for captured women and children, and the group’s ongoing appeal and barbarity pose an unprecedented challenge, a senior United Nations official says.

ISIS has no fear of nuclear option (The Australian)
Aug 6 – (Opinion: Roger Boyes ) ISIS may be openly discussing nuclear weapons to highlight that it is in the market for, or has, radioactive material.

New Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour urges unity in group in first audio message (ABC News)
Aug 8 – An audio message believed to be from new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has called for unity in the movement.

Bangladesh secular blogger Niloy Neel hacked to death in his home in fourth targeted killing this year (ABC News)
Aug 8 – Attackers armed with machetes have killed another blogger in Bangladesh, the fourth killing of an online critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority country in less than six months.

Also: Niloy Neel, fourth blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh this year
Aug 8 – Dhaka: Attackers armed with machetes killed a blogger in Bangladesh on Friday, the fourth such killing of an online critic of religious extremism in six months, prompting calls by human rights groups for a swift and thorough investigation.

Islamic State ‘kidnaps 230 Christians’ after Syrian town falls (Brisbane Times)
​Aug 8 – Amman: Islamic State militants have captured dozens of Christian families after snatching the regime-held Syrian town of Qaryatain.

Execution deadline for Croat held by IS jihadists passes in silence (The West Australian)
Aug 8 – Cairo (AFP) – The fate of a Croatian abducted by the Islamic State group near Cairo was unknown Saturday, hours after a deadline set by the jihadists to execute him apparently passed.

35 dead, hundreds wounded as multiple bombings rock Kabul (The West Australian)
Aug 8 – Multiple bombings rocked Kabul Friday, killing at least 35 people and wounding hundreds more in the first major attacks in the Afghan capital since the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death.

Also:  Kabul: death toll rises in deadliest 24 hours Afghan capital has seen in years (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 8 – A wave of attacks in Kabul has killed more than 40 people, including a Nato soldier, in the deadliest 24 hours in the Afghan capital in years.

Also: Kabul’s deadliest day, at least 51 killed, hundreds wounded (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 9 – Kabul: A wave of attacks on the Afghan army and police and US special forces in Kabul killed at least 51 people and wounded hundreds, dimming hopes that the Taliban might be weakened by a leadership struggle after their longtime leader’s death.

IS kidnaps civilians in Syria, mass executions in Iraq (The West Australian)
Aug 8 – Beirut (AFP) – The Islamic State group kidnapped 230 civilians in central Syria and officials said Friday it had executed more than 2,000 people in northern Iraq’s Mosul region alone since last year.

Islamic State executed 2,000 Iraqis in Nineveh – defence minister (The West Australian)
Aug 8 – BAGHDAD (Reuters) – More than two thousand Iraqis in the northern province of Nineveh have been executed by Islamic State militants controlling the area, the defence minister said on Friday in a recorded statement.

Five women killed in India by villagers suspecting witchcraft (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 8 – Five women have been killed in eastern India by villagers who believed they were witches, according to local officials.

Father of Palestinian toddler killed in West Bank arson attack dies of injuries sustained in fire
Aug 9 – The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in an arson attack on his home a week ago has died of injuries sustained in the fire.

Islamic State contagion growing in Indonesia (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 9 – Jakarta: In the upmarket Jakarta suburb of Menteng, home to former presidents and diplomats and their enormous mansions, al-Fataa mosque is an incongruous building.

Bomb threat against Queen’s World War II commemoration speech (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Aug 9 – BRITISH police are encouraging people to attend celebrations to mark the anniversary of the end of WWII despite reports that British jihadis are planning to blow up the Queen during the events.


Abbot of Shaolin kung fu monks, Shi Yongxin, faces sex and fraud claims (Brisbane Times)
Aug 4 – China is investigating allegations of financial and sexual misdeeds by the abbot of the Shaolin temple, the birthplace of kung fu and inspiration for Bruce Lee’s films.

Arian Foster’s confession breaks new ground in US sport (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Aug 7 – IT takes incredible strength, courage and bravery to make it in the NFL as a running back.

Jerry Lee Lewis: ‘I worry about whether I’m going to heaven or hell’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 8 – (Opinion: Simon Hattenstone) At nearly 80, Jerry Lee Lewis has outlived his rivals and is preparing for his final tour. He talks about why his seventh wife is the love of his life, how he became known as ‘the Killer’, and why Elvis was just a hillbilly.



Reclaim Australia supporter charged with threatening to slit the throat of prominent lawyer (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 4 – A Reclaim Australia supporter has been charged with threatening to slit the throat of a prominent Sydney lawyer and campaigner against Islamophobia.

Also: Far-right fringe raises its profile (The Australian)
Aug 8 – (Opinion: John Lyons ) Armed extremists and neo-Nazis are latching on to Reclaim Australia.

Junaid Thorne: Preacher jailed for eight months over fake name air tickets (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 6 – A controversial religious preacher offered to become a deradicalisation mentor in an attempt to avoid going to prison for booking airline tickets under a fake name.

Also: Junaid Thorne: Hounding by media forced me to book air tickets under false name (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 6 – A controversial religious preacher who booked airline tickets under a false name said he only did so because he was being unfairly hounded by the media and law enforcement.

Bendigo mosque receives planning approval by VCAT (ABC News)
Aug 6 – Victoria’s planning tribunal has approved a permit for Bendigo’s first mosque, despite stiff opposition to the project from some local residents.

Bendigo mosque councillor should be sorry (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Aug 6 – (Opinion: Susie O’Brien) Bendigo councilor Elise Chapman has refused to apologise for tweeting a graphic image of genital mutilation.

Friction in first family of jihad (The Australian)
Aug 8 – Abdul Rahman Ayub preaches deradicalisation.

Halal good buy? I don’t know why (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Aug 9 – (Opinion: Piers Akerman) AUSTRALIANS are asking what in halal is going on with religious food certification and demanding an end to being forced to pay for Islamic blessings on ordinary supermarket food items.



Gay marriage is not the foe of religious freedom (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 4 – (Opinion: David Glasgow) Australians should ignore the recent calls to water down our discrimination laws.

Traditional beliefs ignored in marriage equality debate (Brisbane Times)
Aug 6 – (Opinion: Patrick Parkinson) Opposing change on the basis of deeply held beliefs isn’t bigotry.

Pope Francis exploited by Andrew Forrest’s anti-slavery project, says Vatican after pulling out (Perth Now)
Aug 6 – THE Vatican says the Pope was being exploited by Andrew Forrest’s anti-slavery initiative, after it walked away from the project less than a year after its launch