Religion News Australia

October 17 – 24, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Malka Leifer’s lawyers consider seeking report on fitness for trial, court told (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 21 – Lawyers for Malka Leifer are considering seeking a report on whether the former school principal is fit to stand trial on child abuse charges.


Marist Regional College in Burnie apologises after staff measure length of girls’ skirts (ABC News)
Oct 21 – A Tasmanian Catholic school has apologised to parents and students after girls in two year 8 classes were asked to kneel to have the lengths of their skirts measured.

Religious Violence

Man charged with British MP’s murder, court hears he supported IS (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 24 – London: British police have charged a 25-year-old Londoner of Somali heritage with stabbing a British MP to death in a church, a case that has raised fears about the safety of elected politicians.

Radical Islamists clash with police en route to Pakistan’s capital (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 24 – Thousands of supporters of a banned radical Islamist party have departed from the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore, clashing with police for a second day, a party spokesman and witnesses said on Saturday.


In Melbourne’s COVID hotspot, ‘anti-medication’ mosque leader Abu Hamza says he’s ‘upset a lot of people’ (ABC News)
Oct 21 – With tubes up his nose, the man can barely reach a whisper as he speaks in a 49-second video clip.


Fighting anti-Semitism needs solidarity, not definitions (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 21 – (Opinion: David Zyngier and Daniel Coleman) The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which Scott Morrison has said Australia will formally adopt, has been claimed by some commentators to be supported by “the overwhelming majority of Australian Jewry”. To the contrary, we write as members of the Jewish Greens, one of many progressive Jewish organisations which reject this definition.

‘Violent, extremist ideology’: Man charged over racist, anti-Semitic posters in Perth’s north (WA Today)
Oct 21 – A man WA Police fear harbours a “violent, extremist ideology” faces serious charges over posters depicting vile racist and anti-Semitic imagery placed around Perth’s northern suburbs, including at a school.

Is it inherently antisemitic to criticise Israel? It may depend on who you ask (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 23 – (Opinion: Michael Visontay) There are few accusations more loaded than that of “antisemitism”, and the taint weighs heavily in Australia.


Perrottet lobbied by religious leaders over modern slavery laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 21 – The NSW government has been accused of watering down modern slavery legislation, with new Premier Dominic Perrottet now being lobbied by a host of religious leaders to ensure the landmark reforms are delivered in full.

Christian Lobby boasts religious freedom laws will include ‘Folau clause’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 24 – Australian Christian Lobby boss Martyn Iles has boasted the Morrison government will include a controversial “Israel Folau clause” in its looming religious discrimination laws, in audio that has since been scrubbed from the internet.

‘I am a survivor’: Australia’s newest senator on fighting for Aboriginal women and sacred sites (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 24 – Australia’s newest senator, Noongar Bibbulmun Yamajti woman Dorinda Cox, strode into federal parliament last week to say she comes from a long line of powerful matriarchs and high on her agenda is an inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations Australian women.


Juukan Gorge recommendations will help protect First Nations’ culture (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 21 – (Opinion: Jamie Lowe) First Nations Peoples, and our culture and heritage, have been under siege since the colonisation project in Australia began.

Lockdown zealots’ blind faith in pandemic premiers (The Australian)
Oct 21 – (Opinion: The Mocker) Father Rod Bower — part of a Covid cohort of lockdown dogmatists — took aim at NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet with a grim prediction about Freedom Day. And so it did not come to pass …

Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority says sacred sites could be damaged at McArthur River Mine, port (ABC News)
Oct 24 – Multiple sacred sites at a major Australian mine and nearby port are at risk of “damage” and “desecration” from current works and a proposed expansion, the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) has warned in correspondence obtained by the ABC.

As some in the Western world reject traditional religion, they’re redirecting their faith — not losing it (ABC News)
Oct 24 – The language of traditional religion is as steeped in hierarchy as it is in history.

The unclaimed: the ashes left waiting in Sydney’s Wayside Chapel (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 24 – In the charity’s storeroom sit the cremated remains of seven former visitors – unclaimed, contested or forgotten. This is the story of three of them.