Religion News Selection

Dec 1 – 8, 2019

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Islamic schools grow as parents seek a ‘safe zone’ for their children (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 7 – Victoria’s private Islamic schools are the fastest growing schools in the state, almost doubling their population in just eight years.


Israeli court rejects appeal from Melbourne teacher accused of sex crimes (Brisbane Times)
Dec 4 – Jerusalem: A former Melbourne school principal accused of sexually assaulting female students has lost a bid in an Israeli court to stop a further psychiatric examination to assess if she is mentally fit for extradition.


Angela Merkel speaks of ‘deep shame’ on first visit to Auschwitz (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 7 – Angela Merkel has expressed “deep shame” during her first visit as German chancellor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust memorial and vowed to fight rising racism and antisemitism in Germany and Europe.

Religious Violence

Struck twice by terror, this London cathedral looks to God for answers (Brisbane Times)
Dec 2 – London: On the stone pavement outside Southwark Cathedral, a modest flower arrangement sits below a printed message of hope for those who have come here seeking answers to the inexplicable.


Sword-wielding butchers slaughter thousands of animals to honour Hindu goddess Gadhimai in Nepal (ABC News)
Dec 4 – Thousands of animals were killed on the first day of a religious festival in Nepal, as Hindu devotees gathered to honour the goddess Gadhimai.

Microsoft and Amazon targeted by faith groups in immigration fight (ABC News)
Dec 7 – The mossy courtyard of a gothic revival church in Brooklyn has little in common with a Microsoft office, but Silas Berkowitz’s conscience has led him here.


As a Muslim Mariam lives the ‘five before five’ — and finds meaning and balance as a death doula (ABC News)
Dec 8 – “I collided head on with a truck, the car caught on fire. It was a huge emergency operation,” says Mariam Ardati.


Folau settlement saga over but bitter taste remains (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 4 – (Opinion: Peter FitzSimons) And so it is over.

Also: Most stunning claim in Israel Folau settlement with Rugby Australia (
Dec 4 – (Opinion: James Matthey) Izzy for real?

Also: No one is happy but there are lessons to be learnt from Folau saga (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 8 – (Opinion: Editorial) Rugby Australia’s decision to settle the unfair termination case brought by Israel Folau has ended a painful episode for the sport but it seems no one is happy.

‘Searched for weapons?’: Church of Scientology upsets neighbours with new security measures (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 8 – The Church of Scientology has been accused of blocking access to public parklands and intimidating residents with security guards and guard dogs.

My experience travelling to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of the most contested places on earth (ABC News)
Dec 8 – (Opinion: Erwin Renaldi) One of the oldest cities in the world and filled with heritage sites, Jerusalem has for centuries been captured, divided, conquered, destroyed and rebuilt many times over by various empires and nations to this very day.