Religion News Australia

October 15 – 29, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Former Christian Brother John Laidlaw, 84, given more jail time over further abuse against students (ABC News)
Oct 20 – A notorious former Christian Brother has been sentenced for a second time after admitting to further historic abuse against boys at Catholic schools in Victoria.

Australian Catholic church’s insurer launches court bid to cover smaller share of abuse compensation (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 27 – The Catholic church insurer wants to establish a scheme that would stave off its own insolvency by paying church bodies only a fraction of the money owed to abuse survivors at rates to be determined by the scandal-plagued consultancy PwC, documents show.


Livin’ on an 800-year-old prayer: This is a music debut with a difference (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 25 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) For Mary Finsterer, making music is a religious experience – the MSO’s composer-in-residence will this week be premiering a new work based on the Stabat Mater.


Brighton Secondary principal steps down after antisemitic bullying case (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 23 – The principal of a Melbourne secondary school has stepped down after a federal court judge found he and the State of Victoria breached the Racial Discrimination Act in antisemitic bullying case.

How identity politics has plunged our public schools into crisis (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 24 – (Opinion: Ross Gittins) The inequity of our school funding system means the less government help a school needs, the more it’s given, and the more a school needs the more likely it won’t be given enough.


Louisiana pastor charged with sexual abuse of teenage girl (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 27 – Authorities in Louisiana have charged a Pentecostal pastor with sexually molesting a teenage girl who was a member of his church.


‘I did not expect it’: TikTok influencer jailed for saying prayer before eating pork (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 21 – Indonesian Muslim Lina Mukherjee was handed a jail sentence and a hefty fine for seemingly daring herself to eat the meat.

Religious Violence

US landlord accused of killing Muslim boy, injuring woman in Islamophobic hate crime (ABC News)
Oct 16 – A 71-year-old landlord accused of injuring his 32-year-old tenant and killing her six-year-old son has been charged with a hate crime.

‘A lot of pain’: Europe’s Jews fear rising antisemitism after Hamas attack (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 20 – In the usually bustling “Little Jerusalem” area of Sarcelles, north of Paris, the popular falafel and grill restaurant was eerily quiet. “People are not going out,” said Jérémy, the 33-year-old restaurant owner.

Ahmed Yassin was a quadriplegic refugee who ran a charity. How did he end up founding Hamas? (ABC News)
Oct 21 – In 1952, a teenage boy named Ahmed Yassin was playing with friends at a beach in the Gaza Strip.


Move over #WitchTok. New degree in the occult takes magic to another level (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 16 – London: In the ancient city of Exeter, three women were hanged for practising witchcraft in the late 17th century, the last of such executions in England. Now, merely a short walk from where the hangings occurred, the University of Exeter will offer a postgraduate degree in magic and occult science, which the school says is the first of its kind at a British university.

Tonga citizens take a United States approach to guns, as police push back against illegal firearms  (ABC News)
Oct 18 – Sunday is always the most peaceful day of the week in Tonga.


Police urged to block Hezbollah mourners (The Australian)
Oct 21 – Counter-terrorism police and the Department of Home Affairs have been alerted to a ‘commemoration service’ to be held in western Sydney following the death of three Hezbollah fighters.


‘Hateful and cowardly’: Melbourne train protest probed after Nazi salutes, antisemitic threats (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 16 – Police are investigating an early morning demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD after witness reports of a group of people dressed in black marching and giving Nazi salutes.

Australia ramps up security at synagogues, mosques as parliament divides on Gaza (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 18 – Synagogues and mosques will be given help to upgrade security under a $50 million federal plan to protect communities in the wake of the Hamas terror attack on Israel as parliament divided on the killing of Palestinians in a hospital in Gaza.

What’s next in Gaza? Let’s recall what happened to Islamic State (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 23 – (Opinion: Peter Hartcher) Of history’s various urban wars, the closest precedent is the Battle of Mosul in 2016-17, when an eight-nation force including Australia drove the Islamic State out of that Iraqi city.

With my Bible-bashing friends, do I turn the other cheek? (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 27 – (Opinion: Danny Katz) Try pouring oil on troubled waters, suggests our Modern Guru.

Their plight has never been heard’: Thousands pray for Palestine in Flagstaff Gardens (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 27 – Zak Ali, who travelled to the CBD from Dandenong for the public Friday prayer, said he no longer believed in Australia’s political system.

‘Pure hate’: Jewish academics quit union (The Australian)
Oct 27 – Jewish academics from Australia’s major universities have told their union that it will ‘lose any moral authority’ to speak on human rights if it does not address the crimes of Hamas.

Goldmine assessed as low heritage risk is on a sacred songline, Wiradyuri elders say (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 27 – Elders applied for federal heritage protection of the proposed McPhillamys site on Kings Plains in 2020 but are yet to receive a response.