Religion News Australia

April 24 – May 1, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Scientology accused of child trafficking, forced labour of Australians (WA Today)
Apr 29 – Three Australian residents have accused Scientology of child trafficking, covering up multiple sexual assaults, forced labour and other abuses in a significant legal claim lodged in a Florida court overnight.

Also: Inside ‘Freewinds’, the Church of Scientology’s ship of fear (Brisbane Times)
Apr 30 – When Laura Baxter was accused of monopolising the attention of actor Tom Cruise aboard Scientology’s Caribbean cruise ship in 2004, she says her punishment was to be locked in an “extremely hot” engine room of the Freewinds ship.

Catholic Church

Be kind to your mother-in-law, the victim of ‘cliches’, urges Pope (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 29 – Pope Francis has urged Catholics to honour the elderly and take care of family bonds, also taking the opportunity to return to the thorny subject of mothers-in-law.


The lost Jews of Nigeria (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 26 – Until the 1990s, there were almost no Jews in Nigeria. Now thousands have enthusiastically taken up the faith.

Religious Violence

Islamic State ‘Beatle’ sentenced to life for murdering four US hostages as victims’ families speak  (ABC News)
Apr 30 – A US judge has imposed a lifetime prison sentence on a member of an Islamic State militant group nicknamed “The Beatles” who beheaded American hostages, at a hearing where one victim’s mother told the defendant: “I will not hate you.”

‘Heinous’: Explosion at Kabul mosque kills worshippers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 30 – Kabul: A powerful explosion has ripped through a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing at least 50 people and wounding as many as 80, a Taliban spokesman has confirmed.

Priest among 12 people convicted of murder of Malawian man with albinism (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 30 – A Catholic priest, a police officer and hospital worker are among a dozen people convicted over the gruesome murder of a Malawian man with albinism in 2018.

Gunmen steal 200 Eid outfits from Pakistani tailor in Islamabad (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 30 – Gunmen have stolen more than 200 outfits made for the customers of a Pakistani tailor for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Israeli forces arrest suspected killers of Jewish settlement guard (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – Israeli forces on Saturday arrested the suspected killers of a Jewish settlement guard shot in a West Bank attack claimed by a Palestinian armed group that linked it to violence in Jerusalem.


Why Muslims fast during Ramadan and how a purification ritual can ‘cleanse your sins’ (ABC News)
Apr 24 – It’s Ramadan, and Shazma Gaffoor hasn’t eaten or drunk for seven hours when we speak.

‘Huge issue’: The athletes juggling faith and sport (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 24 – Hakeem al-Araibi quietly arrived at St Albans Saints Soccer Club training after sunset, holding a date and a drink.

Tina Rahimi first Muslim woman boxer to represent Australia at Commonwealth Games (ABC News)
Apr 26 – Tina Rahimi will be the first Muslim woman to box for Australia at a Commonwealth Games, having been called up to the team on Tuesday just four years after her first fight.

Also: Prayer mats and punching bags (The Australian)
Apr 30 – Tina Rahimi made history this week by becoming the first female Muslim boxer chosen to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games. The camera loves her … but it’s complicated.


‘Contrite’ Deves set to visit Jewish Museum (The Australian)
Apr 29 – Katherine Deves has accepted an invitation from Jewish leaders to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum and speak to a Holocaust survivor.

‘A little bit scared of us’: Pro-life senators speak at anti-abortion rally in Brisbane (Brisbane Times)
May 1 – Senator Amanda Stoker, the federal government’s assistant minister for women, promoted her stand against abortions to around 1000 people at a pro-life rally in Brisbane on Saturday.


From faith to fear: churches put to the test (WA Today)
Apr 30 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) It should come as no surprise to church leaders that domestic violence occurs within their own congregations.