Religion

Here’s my Thought for the Day: stop sneering and keep the faith, BBC

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A culture of sniggering contempt towards religion is endemic within the BBC, as exemplified by its condescending Today presenters’ attitudes Giles Fraser The Guardian I have done Thought for the Day for many years, and I have loved doing it. The people who work on the slot, on Radio 4’s Today programme, couldn’t be nicer to me personally. And that goes for the presenters too. When I returned from heart surgery recently they made a special point of welcoming me ... Read More »

Slavery thrives because it’s hidden: we need to learn to ask questions, says CofE bishop

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The CofE bishop who is leading the Church’s efforts to help to tackle modern slavery has called for ‘improvement in police practice’ in the wake of a highly critical report which found that police are failing in the area. James Macintyre Christian Today A new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found that police forces are failing to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking because the cases are too difficult and senior officers believe the ... Read More »

Turkey’s other Hagia Sophia – in Trabzon

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Once a church – and a hospital and a museum – it is now a mosque and also one of Turkey’s best-preserved buildings of the late Byzantine era. Admission is free and there is much here for visitors of all faiths Caroline Eden The Guardian It may be far smaller and much less famous than its namesake in Istanbul, but what Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia lacks in architectural splendour it makes up for in tranquillity and beauty. Right by the sea, ... Read More »

Narcissists aren’t very conservative but believe in inequality

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Are narcissists more likely to be right-wing conservatives or rebellious liberals? Alice Klein A study of narcissistic personalities reveals they typically combine elements of both, helping to explain some of President Trump’s actions. New Scientist Social scientists have long tried to understand how personality influences political beliefs. Studies have found that people who are open-minded, creative and curious are more likely to be liberal voters, whereas people who like convention and orderliness tend to vote more conservatively. But few studies ... Read More »

The Church’s child abuse record doesn’t disqualify it from opposing same-sex marriage

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Author Anna Krien’s recent condemnation of the church’s apparent hypocrisy (The Age, 17/10) in arguing that heterosexual marriage is best for children while being guilty of failing to address historical child abuse appears convincing Kevin Donnelly Brisbane Times A closer reading, though, reveals it for what it is. While Krien’s argument is emotionally persuasive she fails to provide a rational argument linking the two. Yes, the church clearly opposes same-sex marriage but to simply dismiss its arguments because of its ... Read More »

We have to stop normalising relentless Islamophobia in Australia

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For Muslims in Australia, particularly hijab-wearing women and their children, Islamophobic attacks are all too common. It needs to change Rabia Siddique Terrorised, persecuted, stateless, homeless, and, until recently, without real international support – this is the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority community being forced out of Myanmar. The Guardian At the hands of the Myanmar military, more than 80 villages have been burnt, leaving ten thousands of Rohingyas fleeing daily and attempting to cross into a flooded ... Read More »

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

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Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors. Executive Summary Long spared by the Sahel’s armed groups, Burkina Faso now faces increasingly frequent and lethal attacks in its north. Although this insecurity in large part is an extension of the Malian ... Read More »

Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in a proposed independent Kurdish state

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BASHIQA, Iraq — Shortly after the Islamic State was pushed out of his home town last year, Ivan Abdulla bought a new house in the traditionally Yazidi enclave. It was an investment in the place where generations of his family were raised, he said. Tamer El-Ghobashy  The Washington Post But the father of three already regrets his decision.The hilltop town of mostly Yazidis and Christians — two of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities — has become the focus of a tug of war ... Read More »

Helping someone die well is the final act of caring I can give as a doctor

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Supporting assisted dying takes nothing away from anyone, but provides enormous comfort to a very small group of people Nick Carr The Guardian Claire and Bob have been together so long it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. He’s a walking – well, waddling – textbook of modern medicine. With his impressive girth, arthritic hips, diabetes, hypertension and gout, I get to see a lot of Bob. So it was unusual when it was Claire who presented with some ... Read More »

Catholicism’s influence is very much alive in Ireland

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The faith still has significant public and private sway despite blows to the church A few years ago, Eugene O’Brien and I started work on a book of essays entitled Tracing the Cultural Legacy of Irish Catholicism: From Galway to Cloyne and Beyond. Eamon Maher The Irish Times We approached contributors from different disciplines and shades of opinion to provide as balanced an overview as possible of what is an emotive topic. The timespan covered in the book is revealed, somewhat obliquely, in ... Read More »

Denmark’s immigration minister uses cartoon of Prophet Mohammad as iPad background

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Inger Stojberg says Denmark has right to criticise religions Denmark’s immigration minister on Tuesday posted a screenshot of her iPad showing a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad on Facebook, one of the satirical cartoons that caused outrage among Muslims around the world more than a decade ago. Independent  The Facebook post comes as a reaction to a decision by the Skovgaard Museum in Viborg, Denmark, not to include the drawing in a new exhibition about blasphemy since the Reformation. “It ... Read More »

Austria burqa ban: Government warns Muslim women to show faces in public or be fined

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Breach of new integration law will be punished with €150 fine Chris Baynes  The Independent The Austrian government has issued posters and leaflets threatening Muslim women with fines for wearing face veils ahead of the introduction of a controversial ban. The authorities launched the publicity drive to raise awareness of the legislation outlawing niqabs and burqas, which will come into force on 1 October. Under the new “integration” policy, anyone wearing clothes that obscure their face in public can be fined €150 (£132) ... Read More »

Exclusive: John Howard says the government needs to explain how it will protect religious freedoms on same-sex marriage

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Former prime minister John Howard has demanded that the rights of children not be forgotten in the same-sex marriage debate Speaking exclusively to 9NEWS from London, he also rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances that a detailed debate about protecting religious freedoms can wait until after the postal vote on same-sex marriage is decided. Chris Uhlmann 9news Mr Howard said that if the postal survey returned a “yes” vote then the government would be stampeded into delivering change, so people needed answers ... Read More »

Tunisian women free to marry non-Muslims

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Tunisia has overturned a law that banned women from marrying non-Muslims A spokeswoman for President Beji Caid Essebsi made the announcement and congratulated women on gaining “the freedom to choose one’s spouse”. BBC Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian Muslim woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof. Tunisia, which is 99% Muslim, is viewed as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of women’s… Tunisian ... Read More »

Churches offer sanctuary to asylum seekers affected by welfare crackdown

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Australia’s Christian churches are offering sanctuary to 100 asylum seekers caught up in a Government welfare crackdown affecting those who were originally transported to Australia for medical treatment. Lexy Hamilton-Smith ABC Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said those whose treatment had been finalised would no longer receive financial assistance from the Government. The asylum seekers have been meeting with Immigration officials over the last two days to discuss cuts to their assistance. However, if they can find a way to ... Read More »

The Hajj and the Struggle for Islamic Hegemony

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ethnic Sunni-Shiite rift parallels the Saudi-Iranian political rift, the Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood ideological rift, and the historic rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA Tensions over Islamic hegemony arising from these rifts are likely to come to a boil at the 2017 Hajj. Wednesday, August 23, 2017, is the first day of Zhu–l-Hijjat, the Muslim month in which two important events take place: the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the most central ... Read More »