Melbourne priest Paul Grasby moves to Malaysia to pursue ‘young Asian men’ while on paid leave

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EXCLUSIVE A Catholic priest stood down amid child sexual abuse allegations has moved to Malaysia, where he is using a gay dating website to seek the company of “young Asian men” while on paid leave. The Age – Nino Bucci, Crime reporter for The Age Father Peter Grasby, who is suspected of abusing boys from at least two Melbourne parishes during almost 40 years as a priest, also propositioned a former parishioner on a gay dating website, it can be revealed. Father Grasby, ... Read More »

Pope Francis set for historic meeting with leader of Russian Orthodox Church

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Vatican City: Pope Francis will make a surprise trip to Cuba on February 12 for a historic meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first meeting between a pope and the Russian patriarch since the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity split nearly 1000 years ago, the Vatican announced Friday. The Sydney Morning Herald * Elisabetta Povoledo * For Pope Francis, the meeting is the result of delicate and sustained diplomacy, some of which began decades ago under ... Read More »

Church’s lead on asylum seekers sanctuary a game changer

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Editorial The Federal Government’s Herodian stance on asylum seekers affected by a High Court decision which has cleared the way to banish almost 270 people, including 37 babies, to off-shore detention needs a serious rethink thanks to the Christian churches. The Canberra Times  By offering sanctuary the churches have set the Government on course for an international public relations disaster in the event it holds firm to the hard line taken to date. Will a government led by Malcolm Turnbull ... Read More »

UK mother gets six years for joining ISIL group in Syria

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A mother who took her toddler to Syria and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group was sentenced to six years in prison on Feb. 1 after becoming the first British woman to be convicted after returning home. Hurriyet – London, Agence France-Presse Tareena Shakil, 26, was found guilty by a court in Birmingham, central England of ISIL membership and encouraging terrorism in posts on Twitter before leaving Britain. “You were well aware that the future which ... Read More »

‘How can you say no?’

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After nearly five years of war in Syria, its tiny neighbour Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees in the world. But while an overstretched government is increasingly hostile, some Palestinian residents are bucking the trend, responding with great generosity – across the religious divide. Reem Haddad reports. New Internationalist Something strange and new is happening on a little hill just 12 kilometres north of Beirut. Veiled women are walking around the narrow alleys of a little Christian enclave. In tow ... Read More »

Pope Francis warns against easy slide into corruption

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis has warned Catholics of descending from sin into corruption, a theme often cited by the reformist pontiff as he tries to overhaul the Vatican. RNS – Rosie Scammell “There is a moment,” the pope said Friday (Jan. 29), “where our situation is so secure … and we have so much power” that sin becomes “corruption.” In those situations, the corrupt feel immune from the consequences of their actions and feel they have no need for ... Read More »

Waleed Aly on multiculturalism, identity and leaders flirting with the dark side

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Islamic State is weak: Waleed Aly See Robot Child’s ‘Ignition’ Waleed Aly, co-host of Channel Ten’s The Project and lecturer in politics at Monash University, is Australia’s highest-profile Muslim. The Sydney Morning Herald – Kerrie O’Brien He is one of the few non-Anglo faces on free-to-air television, and his appointment as replacement for Charlie Pickering on the prime-time news program was a coup not only for Muslims but for people of all non-Caucasian backgrounds. The white-bread nature of Australian television – from Neighbours to ... Read More »

Muslims and Christians worship the same God – that shouldn’t be controversial

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Opinion The Catholic Church itself acknowledges that Muslims worship the “one God”, but that doesn’t suit those who want to cast Islam as the enemy in what they see as a clash of civilisations, writes Ruby Hamad. TheDRUM – By Ruby Hamad A university professor at an evangelical college in the US state of Illinois is about to lose her job because, in the words of the Washington Post,”she made a controversial theological statement.” At the time of writing, Larycia Hawkins, ... Read More »

Egypt’s Sisi attends Coptic Christmas mass for second straight year

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The Egyptian president gives a short speech to mark the Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo on Wednesday Ahram Online Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attended the Coptic Christmas mass on Wednesday for the second straight year at Saint Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbasiya district, where he gave a small speech to mark the religious event. “We do not want anything to harm us [Egyptians] whether our economic or political circumstances,” Sisi said, adding that diversity in religions, traditions and ... Read More »

Turkey’s religious body says engaged couples should not hold hands

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The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkey’s top religious body, has stated that engaged couples should not hold hands or spend time alone together during their engagement period. Hurriyet – ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency “In this period, it is not inconvenient for couples to meet and talk to get to know each other, if their privacy is considered. However, there could be undesired incidents with or without their families’ knowledge … such as flirting, cohabitating or being alone [with one ... Read More »

Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Australia back fatwa against Islamic

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Australia’s leading imams have backed a fatwa against the Islamic State terrorist group, warning that any support for the group contradicts Islamic teachings. The Age – Natalie O’Brien, Investigative Reporter In a New Year message to the nation’s Muslim community, the Grand Mufti of Australia together with prominent imams from NSW and Victoria have given their religious opinions and urged congregations, particularly the youth, to listen to their religious leaders. The Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who is the spiritual leader of Muslims in Australia said “most ... Read More »

Islam as partisan profit: An Egyptian epic

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Scholars, whether religious authorities or not, would fulfil a great role if they would exhibit consistency. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H A Hellyer is a senior nonresident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in DC. @hahellyer When the Egyptian uprising broke out in 2011, the opponents of Hosni Mubarak consisted of many different groups and trends. Within a few months, the “divorce” between the revolutionary camp and the Muslim Brotherhood-led faction began. At the heart ... Read More »

Minister calls for new laws for unbaptised pupils

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O’Sullivan wants denominational schools to set aside places for non-Christian children The Irish Times – Carl O’Brien Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has called for new laws to ensure denominational schools set aside places for local children who are not baptised. At present the Equal Status Act permits schools to discriminate in favour of children on the basis of religion in order to protect their ethos. However, Ms O’Sullivan said legal advice she has received indicates that schools’ religious ethos would be ... Read More »

C of E to fast-track minority ethnic clergy into senior roles

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Potential leaders identified from ‘talent pool’ will be trained and mentored in effort to boost number of non-white bishops, deans and archdeacons The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent The Church of England is to fast-track black and ethnic minority clergy into senior positions amid accusations of institutional racism. A “talent pool” of specifically black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) potential leaders will be identified in 2016 for training and mentoring with the aim of increasing representation among bishops, deans and ... Read More »

Rayani Air: Five things about Malaysia’s Islamic airline

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Billing itself as Malaysia’s first Islamic airline, Rayani Air took to the skies this week offering passengers halal food and no alcohol on board its maiden flight. Here are five things to note about the new airline. BBC  1. It says it is sharia compliant This means it follows Islamic law. Besides its halal menu, prayer calls are observed before a flight takes off. Muslim female flight attendants must wear hijabs, while non-Muslim staff will be required to “dress decently”, ... Read More »

Just don’t call it Christmas: In Israel, Russian holiday coming out of closet

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Novy God, a Soviet-created secular holiday that borrowed from Christmas and New Year’s, was embraced by Russian Jews and is gaining acceptance in Israel. The Christian Science Monitor  By Joshua Mitnick, Correspondent TEL AVIV — Growing up the son of immigrants in the Israeli city of Ashdod, Alex Miller never told non-Russian speaking friends about his grandmother’s fir tree that he and his cousins would decorate in honor of the New Year. Though many of the 1 million newcomers from ... Read More »