Religion News Australia

September 5 – 12, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Jehovah’s Witnesses among 34 additional organisations to formally sign up to national scheme (ABC News)
Sept 10 – The Jehovah’s Witnesses have formally signed up to the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, more than a year after they were named and shamed for holding out.

Religious Violence

Afghan artists flee Kabul, fearing for their lives and dire future for art in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan (ABC News)
Sept 8 – In the month before the Taliban took control of Kabul, 33-year-old artist and photographer Rada Akbar had been preparing for different scenarios in which she would need to flee her home.

‘An Islamic State fighter’: Trial of 20 men accused in 2015 Paris terror attacks begins (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 9 – Paris: The trial of 20 men accused in a series of co-ordinated attacks on Paris in 2015 that spread fear across Europe and transformed France opened on Wednesday in a custom-built complex embedded within a 13th-century courthouse.

Taliban beat protesters and arrest journalists at women’s rally in Kabul (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 9 – Kabul, Afghanistan: After being shut out from the Taliban’s new government, women increased pressure on Afghanistan’s new rulers with a number of protests, at least one of which was broken up by Taliban fighters who whipped some demonstrators and arrested local journalists.

Co-founder of US sex cult NXIVM Nancy Salzman jailed (ABC News)
Sept 9 – A former nurse who co-founded and once ran the cult-like NXIVM group, in which prosecutors say some women were brainwashed, branded like animals and coerced into sex, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Taliban include Haqqani network members in senior Afghan government roles despite terrorist listings (ABC News)
Sept 10 – The Taliban have unveiled their new interim government, and some of its senior figures have a brutal reputation.

Taliban genocide claims in last hold out (The Australian)
Sept 10 – Taliban accused of ‘killing whoever they find’ in Panjshir Valley, the last stronghold of Afghanistan’s resistance fighters.

The Taliban held their own women’s march, with armed guards and scripts for the protesters (ABC News)
Sept 12 – The Taliban have raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace, as the US and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Taliban raise flag over presidential palace on 9/11 anniversary as brother of resistance leader slain (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 12 – The Taliban raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as news emerged that the regime’s fighters had killed the brother of the country’s former vice-president at a checkpoint in Panjshir province.

Afghanistan’s shrinking horizons: ‘Women feel everything is finished’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 12 – In two months, Parwana estimates she has crossed the threshold of her home perhaps four times.


From Lagos to Winchester: how a divisive Nigerian pastor built a global following (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 10 – On the second day of TB Joshua’s funeral in Lagos, his disciples took to the stage.

US Evangelical Lutheran Church installs first openly transgender bishop (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 12 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has installed its first openly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Saturday.


How the 9/11 attacks affected the lives of Australian Muslims (ABC News)
Sept 12 – It was already late evening in Sydney on September 11, 2001, when Randa Abdel-Fattah heard her father in the next room say something about two planes crashing in New York.


Police confront worshippers after stand-off at Melbourne synagogue (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 7 – A stand-off at a Ripponlea synagogue has ended with police taking the details of worshippers who gathered to mark Jewish New Year, saying each will be fined for breaching public health orders.

Also: Behaviour of a minority does not represent values of Jewish tradition (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 8 – (Opinion: Deborah Stone) I am one of the many Jewish Melburnians who has had a very hard week, celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in lockdown for a second year.

Also: Ultra-Orthodox prayer groups have breached lockdowns since last year (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 10 – The scenes were confronting and, for the children involved, no doubt frightening.


Display of Nazi symbols will attract jail time under NSW Labor draft law (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 10 – The Labor caucus and shadow cabinet this week approved draft legislation that would amend criminal laws to ban the public display of Nazi symbols, with exemptions for use of the swastika by religious communities.


Buddhist monk fails to stop A Current Affair Sexyland visit allegation (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 7 – A Buddhist monk fighting a bid in the Supreme Court to oust him from his temple has failed in an effort to suppress allegations of a visit to a Sexyland adult store.

‘I think I’ve accidentally joined a cult’ (ABC News)
Sept 8 – Alex’s bible classes started taking over his life.

Descriptions of hypnosis and a ‘domineering’ priest heard in first week of inquest  (ABC News)
Sept 12 – As the new coronial inquest into the 1980 murder of Maria James got underway this week, the past collided with the present.

‘Stand up and say no’: Churches fight government over vaccine mandate (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 12 – Health Minister Brad Hazzard is standing firm behind plans to require churchgoers to show proof of vaccination when NSW reopens, despite religious leaders pushing for an exemption on the grounds no one should be turned away from church.

Losing my religion: facing the trauma of leaving a faith (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 12 – Sherrie D’Souza can still see the look on the faces of “friends” when she first encountered them in the street after abandoning the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017.