Religion News Australia

April 25 – May 2, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Former Christian Brother faces more jail for sex abuse at orphanage in 1960s (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 29 – A man sexually abused as a boy more than 50 years ago at a Geelong orphanage has told a court how thankful he is at being believed after years of struggle with his trauma.


St Paul’s, once known for its sexist culture, considers enrolling women (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 29 – St Paul’s College, Australia’s oldest university residential college that was once known for its sexist culture, is considering opening its doors to female undergraduates after 165 years of accepting only young men.


Children among the dead in Israel festival stampede (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 1 – Jerusalem: At least 10 children and teenagers were among 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews killed in a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel, according to a partial list of names published on Saturday as the identification of victims in Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster continued.

Religious Violence

Here’s what’s behind the latest Israeli-Palestinian violence (ABC News)
Apr 26 – The holy city of Jerusalem, a tinderbox of competing religious and political claims, has repeatedly triggered bouts of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Two women tortured in latest sorcery-related attack in Papua New Guinea (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 27 – Two women have been brutally attacked in Port Moresby by up to 20 men after being accused of witchcraft, in the latest instance of sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea.

Meet the Afghan woman staring down the Taliban (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 29 – Fatima Gailani was recovering from cancer at the height of the pandemic when she got the call that dragged her out of retirement for the third time.

Australians engaged in fierce battle with help of gemstone dealer: police (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 29 – Australian jihadists in Syria engaged in fierce battles after an Australian gemstone dealer allegedly helped arrange travel to the conflict zone.

al-Qaida threatens ‘war on all fronts’ against America on anniversary of bin Laden’s death (
May 1 – It has now been 10 years since the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, was killed by US special-operations forces inside his high-walled Abbottabad compound.

Taliban’s secret Trump deal (The Australian)
May 2 – US troops brace for onslaught as Taliban accuses Biden of breaking a protection deal struck by Trump.


‘Church’ sold $1.3m of toxic bleach as miracle cure: Miami officials (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 26 – Miami: Leaders of a business masquerading as a church sold a toxic bleach solution as a religious sacrament and marketed it as a “miracle” cure for COVID-19, cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s disease and more, US prosecutors said.

Israel declares national day of mourning after 45 killed in religious stampede (ABC News)
May 1 – Israel’s prime minister has declared Sunday a national day of mourning after dozens were killed and 150 injured at a religious bonfire festival.

Cult or church? This Korean sect has thousands of devotees, but ex-believers lost faith and money (ABC News)
May 1 – At 24, Kim Eun-kang was pursuing her dream of becoming a traditional Korean music singer. But she gave it all up to compete for a chance at immortality.


Australian Uyghurs throw support behind Senator’s bill to ban imports from Xinjiang (ABC News)
Apr 27 – Representatives of Australia’s Uyghur community have spoken out in support of proposed legislation to ban imports from the Xinjiang region of China in response to claims of forced labour.

Australia examines modern slavery laws amid concerns over products linked to Uyghur abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 27 – The Australian government has left the door open to toughening up the nation’s laws against modern slavery amid concerns about human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

When does Ramadan end? How changing your diet could help you make it to Eid (ABC News)
Apr 29 – If you’re feeling sleepy, sluggish or even starved while fasting during Ramadan, chances are you’re not doing it correctly.

When Zara feared for her safety in Tanzania she thought the Australian high commission would help  (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 29 – When Zara Kay began fearing for her safety in Tanzania, she asked her adopted country, Australia, for help.

Australian jihadists engaged in fierce Syrian battle with help of gemstone dealer: police (Brisbane Times)
May 1 – An Australian gemstone dealer allegedly helped arrange travel for a jihadist into the Syrian conflict zone where he engaged in fierce battles near war-torn Aleppo.


Time for tolerance on Morrison’s faith, but time to be upfront as well (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 27 – (Opinion: David Crowe) Australians have always been interested in their prime ministers’ personal faith for the simple reason that it can be essential to the way someone leads the nation.

PM truly believes God is on his side (The Australian)
Apr 29 – (Opinion: Niki Savva) Labor thought images of Scott Morrison praying and swaying, eyes closed, would be a turn-off for voters. The last election told us something else.

Scott Morrison is not the first prime minister with religious beliefs. What is different this time? (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 29 – (Opinion: Marion Maddox) What does our Pentecostal prime minister think of the devil?

Identity politics? Drums of war? Quick, look over there – hobgoblins!
Apr 29 – (Opinion: Tony Wright) There is always a reason why political leaders seek to turn everything on its head, frighten the horses and bellow that dreadfulness stalks the night and must be stared down by the forces of light, which is to say, those in power.

Religion is at the heart of the PM (Brisbane Times)
May 1 – (Opinion: Annika Smethurst) Labor learnt a valuable lesson at the last federal election; attacking Scott Morrison’s religion doesn’t work.

PM walks the talk on his Christian duty (The Australian)
May 1 – (Opinion: Angela Shanahan ) I am not a fan of the Pentecostals, but there is a plausible reason for Scott Morrison’s ‘God’s work’ remark that has been widely misunderstood.

Scott Morrison wants Australians to know he’s a Pentecostal Christian, but…  (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – (Opinion: Katharine Murphy) It’s long forgotten now, but one of the most interesting speeches Tony Abbott made on the road to becoming prime minister was a meditation on faith.

Scott Morrison’s partisan interpretation of biblical passages is disturbing for democracy (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – (Opinion: Kevin Rudd) When the federation’s founding fathers were framing Australia’s constitution in the 1890s, there was intense debate about whether organised religion should get a guernsey.

More Australians are becoming less religious, so what’s with our PMs? (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 2 – (Opinion: Peter FitzSimons) David Day, one of Australia’s foremost historians and biographer of Curtin, Chifley and other prime ministers, makes no bones about it. When it comes to their religious beliefs, we have never had a prime minister like Scott Morrison.


Spy boss says ASIO anticipating terrorist attack in the next year from right-wing or Islamic extremists (ABC News)
Apr 29 – The head of the nation’s domestic intelligence agency has told a parliamentary inquiry that it is anticipating there will be a terrorist attack in Australia sometime in the next year.