Religion News Selection

August 7 – 14, 2022

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Australian academic, once held captive by the Taliban, praises regime on return to Afghanistan (ABC News)
Aug 14 – An Australian academic previously held hostage by the Taliban has returned to Afghanistan to “celebrate” the regime’s one year in power.

An Afghan girl’s despair over school ban: ‘We are wilting away at home’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 14 – (Opinion: Farzana) Last year I was in 11th grade, the second highest-placed student in my class, with an average grade of 95%. Now I sit at home all day doing almost nothing.

Religious Violence

Salman Rushdie, the author and fierce critic of religion with a bounty on his head (ABC News)
Aug 13 – Author Salman Rushdie is in hospital after being attacked at a talk on artistic freedom in Chautauqua, New York.

Also: Salman Rushdie attack suspect charged with attempted murder, pleads not guilty (ABC News)
Aug 14 – The man accused of carrying out a stabbing attack against author Salman Rushdie has entered a not-guilty plea in a New York court on charges of attempted murder and assault.

Also: Rushdie attack: naive Westerners still refuse to accept truth about Iran’s evil regime (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 14 – (Opinion: Stephen Pollard) Last Monday, the European Union put forward what it described as the “final” proposed text of a revived nuclear deal with Iran, a deal which has been under negotiation in Vienna since the arrival of Joe Biden in the Oval Office.

Also: Salman Rushdie attack prompts muted reaction in India and Pakistan (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 14 – The literary world and public figures across the globe have expressed shock and outrage after the author Salman Rushdie was attacked at an event in New York.

Also: Rushdie stabbing was ‘an attack on who we are’, says venue’s president (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 14 – At 10.45am Friday, Michael Hill, the president of Chautauqua Institution, was sitting four rows back from the stage as Salman Rushdie was being introduced as a headline speaker in the cultural center’s summer programme.

Also: ‘Truth, courage, resilience’: Biden hails Salman Rushdie after attack (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 14 – A day after Salman Rushdie’s stabbing in western New York, Joe Biden on Saturday issued a statement hailing the author as standing “for essential, universal ideals”.

One year of Taliban rule has devastated Afghanistan, but there [is] hope within ‘secret schools’ (ABC News)
Aug 14 – In a radical act of rebellion, teachers in Afghanistan have established an underground network of secret schools to help girls and young women continue their education, which has become a human right outlawed by the Taliban.

Female protesters beaten by Taliban fighters during rare Kabul rally (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 14 – Taliban fighters beat female protesters and fired into the air on Saturday as they violently dispersed a rare rally in the Afghan capital, days before the first anniversary of the hardline Islamists’ return to power.


Ali Millar’s upbringing in the Jehovah’s Witnesses was traumatic. Now she’s speaking out (ABC News)
Aug 9 – For Ali Millar, the experience of writing her difficult life story wasn’t cathartic, it was traumatic.

US will return 30 looted artefacts to Cambodia from late smuggler’s collection (ABC News)
Aug 9 – The United States will return 30 looted antiquities to Cambodia, including bronze and stone statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities carved more than 1,000 years ago.


Faction seeks to overthrow synagogue board as infighting intensifies
Aug 14 – A factional dispute at Melbourne’s largest Progressive synagogue has erupted into a battle for control of its board amid a string of resignations and allegations of bullying and harassment.


Whistleblower lawsuit alleges financial misconduct and dubious expenditures inside Hillsong Church (ABC News)
Aug 13 – A whistleblower suing Hillsong in the Federal Court has alleged the megachurch moved millions of dollars in payments through overseas entities to avoid scrutiny by the Australian charities regulator.