Religion News Australia

July 5 – 12, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Independent school settles court case after expelling student with autism (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 10 – A western Sydney independent school has committed to train staff in disability awareness as part of its settlement in a case brought against it by the family of an expelled student with autism.

Public schools still missing out on funding (The Saturday Paper)
July 11 – (Opinion: Royce Kurmelovs.) When Daniel Hogan first returned to the classroom eight years ago, not as a student but as a working teacher, the first lesson was how little in schools had changed.


Lawyers for alleged paedophile Malka Leifer launch appeal against court’s finding of mental fitness (ABC News)
July 8 – Lawyers for alleged paedophile Malka Leifer have appealed an Israeli court’s finding that the former principal is mentally fit to be extradited to Australia to face sexual abuse charges.


Turkey’s President makes Hagia Sophia a mosque after decision that turned it into a museum (ABC News)
July 11 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formally reconverted Istanbul’s iconic sixth-century Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum.

Also: Condemnation from abroad as Erdogan converts Hagia Sophia into mosque (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 11 – Istanbul: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has declared Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia a mosque with the first Muslim prayers to begin in two weeks, after a top court ruled the ancient building’s conversion to a museum nearly 90 years ago was illegal.

Also: Why is there controversy over Turkey declaring Hagia Sophia a mosque? (ABC News)
July 12 – The President of Turkey has recently formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, a decision that many Muslims have celebrated.

Also: Hagia Sophia is too complex for Erdoğan’s cleansing (The Guardian, Australia)
July 12 – (Opinion: Kenan Malik) “Solomon, I have outdone thee.” So remarked Justinian, the Roman emperor who commissioned Hagia Sophia, the great cathedral at the heart of Constantinople, now Istanbul.

Religious Violence

Christchurch attack: police ‘warned about specific threat planned for day of shootings’ (The Guardian, Australia)
July 7 – Police in New Zealand were warned about a specific threat to mosques in the country planned for the day that a gunman stormed two places of worship in Christchurch during Friday prayers and killed 51 people, according to evidence given to a closed-door inquiry into whether the attack could have been prevented.

Iraqi expert on Islamic State shot dead in Baghdad (The Guardian, Australia)
July 7 – A leading Iraqi expert on Islamic State and other militant groups has been shot dead in Baghdad after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias, security officials have said.

Hope for Islamabad’s first Hindu temple razed (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 9 – Delhi: A Hindu temple planned for Islamabad, the city’s first, was supposed to be a symbol of tolerance.

Islamic State never needed a caliphate to keep menacing the world. Now it’s regrouping (ABC News)
July 11 – To the rest of the world it might have appeared as if the Islamic State group had finally been conquered, but Juma’a Qasim Al-Rubaie knew better.


Dalai Lama welcomed to visit Taiwan, a trip that could infuriate China (ABC News)
July 6 – Taiwan’s foreign ministry has said it would welcome a visit by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a trip that could infuriate Beijing, which views him as a dangerous separatist.

The Guardian view on Trump and the Christian vote: doubting Donald (The Guardian, Australia)
July 8 – (Opinion: Editorial) Donald Trump has suggested that the Bible is his favourite book. When pressed to say more, he has shiftily declined to name a single chapter or verse.

Rock god! Is the Dalai Lama’s first album really a ‘certified banger’? (The Guardian, Australia)
July 8 – The spiritual leader has released an album of ethereal songs. Here’s what the music critics had to say…

More than a year since the Notre-Dame cathedral fire, authorities have decided how it will be rebuilt (ABC News)
July 11 – More than a year since Notre-Dame cathedral lost its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts to an inferno, authorities have finally agreed on how the centuries-old structure will be rebuilt — just as it was before.

Sudan ratifies law criminalising female genital mutilation (ABC News)
July 12 – Sudan’s ruling body has ratified a law banning the widespread practice of female genital mutilation, the justice ministry says, handing the movement for women’s rights in the African country a long-sought victory.

Also: Sudan bans FGM as it breaks with hardline Islamist policies (The Guardian, Australia)
July 13 – Sudan is to ban female genital mutilation (FGM), cancel prohibitions against religious conversion from Islam and permit non-Muslims to consume alcohol in a decisive break with almost four decades of hardline Islamist policies, its justice minister has said.

Songs of praise as £2m lifeline helps preserve cathedral choir tradition (The Guardian, Australia)
July 12 – For almost four months their voices have been heard only from bedrooms and kitchens instead of soaring from the choir stalls of England’s magnificent cathedrals.


Christian soldiers and climate deniers: inside the fight for control of the Queensland LNP (The Guardian, Australia)
July 5 – After the 2015 Queensland election, the Liberal National party’s inquest identified a “single most important issue” to explain how Campbell Newman took a record majority to an unexpected defeat.


How faith is helping some through the struggles of coronavirus (ABC News)
July 9 – Shu Xian Leong has spent most of the year in a small Sydney apartment, thousands of kilometres from her family in Singapore.

Queenslanders want ‘Maroonprint’ for community recovery (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 10 – A Queensland-based alliance of 35 high-profile unions, and conservation, education and faith organisations representing 1.7 million Queenslanders has emerged before the state election in October.

Macquarie Uni and Ryde council join forces to tackle racism (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 12 – New research shows 10 per cent of international students surveyed in the Ryde community say they have been called names, prompting Macquarie University and Ryde Council to join forces to combat racism with an education campaign.