Religion News Australia

February 28 – March , 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I was walking into an ambush’: Former Wallaby Tony Daly speaks out about childhood sexual abuse (ABC News)
Mar 6 – The defining moment in Tony Daly’s life happened when he was just 11.

Family’s concern and anger over Scotch College response to alleged rape (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 7 – The mother of a teenage girl who was allegedly raped by a student of Scotch College Melbourne says they were left angry and disheartened by the response of the private boys school after she tried to raise concerns about the way they teach young men about sexual consent.


Private school principals to meet with petition organiser over sex assault claims (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 2 – The principals of 10 eastern suburbs private schools will meet with activist Chanel Contos on Tuesday night to address sexual assault claims that have affected hundreds of their former students.

First Sikh school hopes to create future leaders (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 3 – The NSW government has approved construction of the southern hemisphere’s first Sikh school in north-west Sydney, which community leaders hope will nurture future Indian-Australian judges, politicians and sports stars.

‘Men are like dogs’: what I was taught about sexual assault at my Catholic private school (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 6 – (Opinion: Claire J. Harris) When a petition recently went viral, documenting over 3,000 cases of sexual assault by boys at Sydney private schools, I was saddened and sickened – but not surprised – to find a testimonial from a female student at my former high school.

Catholic Church

Former pope Benedict says ‘fanatical’ Catholics still won’t believe he’s not the pope (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2 – Former pope Benedict has chided conservative Roman Catholics who have not accepted his decision to resign, calling them “fanatical” and reminding them there is only one pope and it is Francis.

Pope Francis calls for end to Iraq violence and extremism on first trip since start of pandemic (ABC News)
Mar 6 – Pope Francis has made an impassioned call for an end to militant violence on the first papal visit to Iraq, saying peacemakers should finally be given a chance.

Religious Violence

Sri Lanka police arrest ‘exorcist’ after child killed in ritual (ABC News)
Mar 2 – Sri Lankan police have arrested a self-proclaimed exorcist after the death of a nine-year-old girl she had beaten as part of a ritual.

New Zealand police arrest two for threat to Christchurch mosques attacked in 2019 (ABC News)
Mar 5 – New Zealand police have arrested two people following a threat made against the mosques that were the scene of mass murder by a white supremacist nearly two years ago.

Also: Christchurch homes raided after online threats to carry out terrorist attacks on mosques (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 5 – Christchurch: Armed police have raided two Christchurch homes after a person allegedly made a series of online posts threatening a terrorist attack involving car bombs on March 15, the second anniversary of the mosque massacre.

Rickshaw bomb kills 10 as Islamists target Mogadishu restaurant (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 6 – Ten people have been killed after a rickshaw loaded with explosives was detonated by al-Shabaab Islamists at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu.


‘Satanic’ El Diablo Eurovision entry must be removed, says Holy Synod (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 3 – Nicosia, Cyprus: The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has called for the withdrawal of the country’s controversial entry into this year’s Eurovision song contest titled El Diablo, charging that the song makes an international mockery of the country’s moral foundations by advocating “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship”.

Catholics in New Orleans and St Louis told to avoid Johnson & Johnson vaccine (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 3 – The archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as Roman Catholic leaders in St Louis, Missouri, have told local Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, because its early development used “morally compromised cell lines created from two abortions”.

Twins forced to marry to avoid ‘bad luck’ (
Mar 6 – Five-year-old Thai twins were forced to marry because their Buddhist family believe they were lovers in a past life.

Pope Francis in historic meeting with Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah (Brisbane Times)
Mar 7 – Najaf: Pope Francis met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the most senior clerics in Shiite Islam, in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf on Saturday to deliver a message of peaceful coexistence, urging Muslims to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority.


Why I began Victorian Open Mosque Day (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 7 – (Opinion: Mohamed Mohideen) “The best of friends in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his friend, and the best of neighbours in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his neighbour.”

A lot of uncertainty’: imams fighting Covid misinformation in Australia’s Muslim community (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 7 – Whenever imam Alaa Elzokm comes across conspiracy theories – whether in person or online – he bridles at their poor sourcing.


Bittersweet reaction as Austrian Jews who fled Nazi Germany for Australia offered dual citizenship (ABC News)
Mar 6 – It was 1938 when Adolf Hitler and German troops stormed into Austria and annexed the nation into Nazi Germany.


‘It’s our turn’: Inside the Christian Right conference plotting a political takeover (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 6 – Craig Kelly was lauded as a hero, a federal MP likened his colleagues to nappies and people joked about needing a World War to distract from gender identity debates.


Brad found himself ‘living a lie’ as a missionary. Now he celebrates as a Peacock Mormon (ABC News)
Mar 4 – After putting the finishing touches on a bejewelled angel costume, 50-year-old Brad Harker sums up his life as “one huge full circle”.