Religion News Australia

October 29 – Nov 12, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Church member who believed homosexuality was a sin guilty of molesting young men (ABC News)
Nov 7 – A former member of a West Australian church group who was raised to believe that “homosexuality is against God’s law” has been found guilty of molesting seven young men.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis sacks American bishop (The Australian)
Nov 12 – Pope Francis has sacked one of his most prominent critics in the Catholic Church in the US in a move that highlighted increasing tensions between the church’s liberal and traditional wings.

Religious Violence

Antisemitic acts have exploded in France since 7 October, interior minister says (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 6 – France has recorded more than a thousand antisemitic acts since the deadly 7 October attack by Hamas gunmen on Israel, the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, has said.

‘Too many Palestinians killed’: US, France up the pressure on Israel as hospitals hit (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 12 – Gaza: Israel is facing mounting international pressure, including from the United States and France, to do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza as the death toll rises and fighting intensifies near and around hospitals.


Police probe ‘jihad’ preacher over radical sermon (The Australian)
Nov 6 – A Sydney religious centre has refused to condemn ‘Brother Ismail’ over the sermon that called on Muslims to wage jihad and claimed the PM had ‘dirtied’ a mosque with ‘lies’.

Also: NSW police investigate Islamic preacher over sermon that stated ‘jihad is the solution’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 6 – An investigation is under way into an Islamic preacher who warned that the Australian government was “pushing Muslims into a corner” over the conflict in Gaza, adding that jihad was the “solution”.


Monique Ryan defends record on Israel after Jewish principal slams Gaza post (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 3 – Kooyong independent MP Monique Ryan has defended her stance on the Israel-Hamas war after the principal of a prominent Jewish school in her electorate published a letter calling it “unacceptable” that Israel’s suffering wasn’t mentioned in the teal MP’s social media post calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza.

Protections for religious expression as Labor revises controversial misinformation laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 12 – A clear exemption for religious expression will be among the substantial changes to Labor’s proposed misinformation laws as the revised legislation is delayed until next year after a chorus of free speech concerns from a range of organisations.

How a Queensland fire station promised to the community was sold to the Catholic church  (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 12 – The Queensland MP Stirling Hinchliffe told state parliament in 2021 there had been a “strong field of community groups” wanting to take ownership of the old Sandgate fire and rescue station.


‘Truly dangerous for children’: Former Jehovah’s Witnesses break silence (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 6 – An investigation has uncovered disturbing practices within the Jehovah’s Witness church.

Researchers working to protect sacred sites to be charged same ‘crippling’ fee as mining companies (WA Today)
Nov 12 – Aboriginal cultural heritage research in Western Australia could be brought to a standstill by new fees introduced to recover costs under new Aboriginal Heritage regulations, undermining government claims that protection and knowledge of sites will increase.


Can you celebrate Diwali if you’re not religious?  (ABC News)
Nov 9 – “You’re not Hindu or Sikh, so why would you celebrate Diwali?”

When good beats evil: Why a million Australians celebrate Diwali (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 12 – When Rujuta Limaye moved to Australia in the ’90s, Diwali – one of the largest religious festivals in the world – was mostly observed in the homes of the Indian diaspora.

‘We invite all the happiness’: Melbourne’s Indian community celebrates Diwali (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 12 – There was dancing in the sunshine, eating and rejoicing as Melbourne’s Indian community gathered to celebrate the festival of lights, Diwali – but there was a sombre note as the crowd paused to remember five locals killed in a car crash in Daylesford.

Israel-Hamas War

Police to step up patrols after violent protest near burnt-out Caulfield shop (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 11 – Police will increase patrols on Melbourne streets to prevent further violence following an ugly clash between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters in Caulfield on Friday night that was triggered by a fire that destroyed a local burger shop.

Why it’s so hard to stop neo-Nazi public hate parades (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 12 – It was a momentary movement, done casually and with a laugh, but caught on camera by a media scrum.

Offensive anti-Jewish placards on display as Palestine supporters gather (The Australian)
Nov 12 – Thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters, including scores of children, gather in Melbourne and Sydney for protests that while largely peaceful have been punctuated by offensive anti-Jewish material.

Trapped inside Gaza’s last hospitals: ICU shuts down, medicines run out (The Australian)
Nov 12 – Care at Gaza City’s biggest hospital has collapsed and those inside are trapped as war intensifies outside its walls, but doctors refuse to leave anyone behind.

Global anti-Semitism is having a rebirth. But did it ever die? (The Australian)
Nov 12 – One phenomenon of antisemitism is its ­ability to mutate over history: from religious hatred to ethnic hatred to hatred of Israel in any form.