Religion News Australia 2014 - 4 (Feb 9 - 16)

  (15 February 14)
  by Greg Spearritt

Religion News Australia

February 9 - 16, 2014

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)




abuse / education / international stories / islam / politics / religion & society






Vic ex-priest had abused before: court (Brisbane Times)

Feb 11 - A former Catholic priest accused of fondling teens at a Victorian boarding school decades ago also allegedly abused a boy in NSW, a court has heard.


Imam charged with solemnising underage marriage (The Age, Melbourne)

Feb 11 - Police have arrested and charged an imam accused of conducting the marriage of a 12-year-old girl in the Hunter Valley this year.


Also: Police are hoping to charge more people over the marriage of a 12-year-old NSW girl (ABC News)

Feb 11 - Police are hoping to charge more people over the marriage of a 12-year-old girl in the Hunter region.


Also: Imam charged over child ‘wedding’ (The Australian)

Feb 11 - A Muslim cleric has been charged with allegedly performing an Islamic wedding ceremony for a child bride and an adult man.


Also: Police charge imam believed to have overseen the ‘marriage’  (

Feb 11 - THE Pakistani imam charged with conducting the alleged “marriage” of a 12-year-old girl to a 26-year-old man has been sacked from his mosque, an Islamic leader said.


Also: 61yo man charged over alleged marriage of 12yo daughter in Hunter region (ABC News)

Feb 12 - A man accused of consenting to the marriage of his 12-year-old daughter in an illegal ceremony in the Hunter region has been remanded in custody.


Also: Father charged after he allegedly allowed daughter, 12, to 'marry' (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Feb 12 - A father who allowed his 12-year-old daughter to be married in an illegal ceremony has been refused bail, despite him arguing the child bride was a “strong-willed woman” who was “in love”.


Also: Father of girl, 12, charged over under-age marriage (The Australian)

Feb 12 - THE father of a girl who was allegedly married at the age of 12 to a 26-year-old man in NSW's Hunter region has been charged with procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity.


Shame of our child brides (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Feb 12 - A 14-YEAR-OLD girl was forced into an Islamic marriage with a western Sydney drug gang member who raped and beat her and later physically abused their daughter.


Salvation Army hearing prompts spike in correspondence to royal commission into child sex abuse (ABC News)

Feb 16 - The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has experienced a massive spike in calls, letters and emails since the most recent public hearing was held into the Salvation Army.





Private school security guards are provided by the taxpayer (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Feb 16 - Taxpayer-funded security guards will be deployed at Jewish and Islamic schools across the country as part of an $18 million federal government program to beef up security at religious schools.





Anglican Church


Church of England rejects gay marriage blessings (The Australian)

Feb 16 - BISHOPS in the Church of England have issued new guidance warning clergy they should not bless couples in same-sex marriages, after the idea was recommended in an internal report last year.




Leena Suleiman reveals what happened when she covered up her hijab (

Feb 13 - IT TOOK a while for Leena Suleiman to realise people were suddenly noticing her more.


Saudi Valentines defy the love police (The West Australian)

Feb 14 - Riyadh (AFP) - Red roses lurk hidden in flower shop back rooms and heart-shaped chocolates are sold under the counter, but Saudis still manage to buy Valentine's gifts and defy the religious police.


Gaza pagan treasure holds promise for Islamic rulers (The West Australian)

Feb 15 - Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - The discovery in Gaza of a life-size bronze statue of a naked ancient Greek god has presented the Palestinian territory's Islamist rulers with a dilemma: should there be a cover-up?


Mass Valentine wedding in Malaysia despite Muslim anger (The West Australian)

Feb 15 - Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - Malaysian Islamic authorities took their annual swipe at Valentine's Day Friday, calling it a threat to Muslim values, but 138 couples took part in a mass wedding to mark the date.


Religious Violence


Suicide bomb instructor accidentally kills pupils (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Feb 11 - Baghdad: A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.


Grenade attack on Pakistan porn theatre kills 12 (

Feb 12 - A TRIPLE grenade attack on a cinema showing pornography in northwest Pakistan killed 12 people on Tuesday as government and Taliban negotiators met for a second round of peace talks.


Mass grave found in Central African Republic; UN warns of 'cleansing' (The West Australian)

Feb 13 - BANGUI (Reuters) - A top U.N. official warned on Wednesday of "ethnic-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic, as peacekeepers uncovered a mass grave at a military camp occupied by Seleka rebels in the capital Bangui.


11 dead in 'terrorist attack' in China's Xinjiang: govt (The West Australian)

Feb 15 - Beijing (AFP) - A total of 11 people died in an "attack" in China's Xinjiang region on Friday, with eight "terrorists" shot dead by police and three blowing themselves up, having injured four people, authorities said.


As violence grows, Iraq faces threat of disintegration (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Feb 16 - All hell was to break loose - or maybe not - in the restive Iraqi city of Falluja on Friday.




Ancient dog burial site found in Mexico (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Feb 15 - ARCHAEOLOGISTS say they have discovered "an exceptional" burial site under an apartment building in Mexico City containing the remains of 12 dogs, animals that had a major religious and symbolic significance to the Aztec peoples of central Mexico.


Penguin defends pulping book on Hindus in India after row (The West Australian)

Feb 14 - New Delhi (AFP) - Publisher Penguin Friday blamed India's "intolerant" laws for its decision to pull and pulp a book on Hinduism in the country that sparked a furious free speech row.


Also: Indian law blamed for Hindu book removal (The Australian)

Feb 15 - PENGUIN India publishing house says "intolerant and restrictive" Indian laws have forced it to remove a book from sale after it tried to defend an American author's religious history against objections from a conservative Hindu group.


Belgium extends euthanasia law to give ill children of any age right to die (The Australian)

Feb 15 - TWELVE years after legalising euthanasia for adults, Belgium's parliament extended the right to die to terminally ill children of any age, despite opposition from the church and some pediatricians.


Childhood epic, religious drama vie for Berlin film prize (The West Australian)

Feb 15 - BERLIN (Reuters) - Films ranging from a coming-of-age docudrama using the same actors over a 12-year span, a feature about radical Catholics and an unflinching look at Northern Ireland's troubles stand out as possible winners at the annual Berlin film festival.





Sydney man and roadside preacher Ahmad Moussalli killed in Syria (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Feb 11 - A SYDNEY man killed fighting as a rebel in Syria was preaching Islam to passers-by on the streets of Parramatta before he flew out to the ­Middle East.


Hezbollah website has local links (The Australian)

Feb 12 - SUPPORTERS of Islamic militant group Hezbollah are operating a well-resourced English language website in Australia, sparking fears it is attempting to radicalise younger Arab-Australians.


Also: Hezbollah site denies terrorism (The Australian)

Feb 13 - THE creator of the Australian-based pro-Hezbollah Electronic Resistance website does not support a two-state solution in the Middle East and describes the Oslo and Camp David Arab-Israeli accords as “a lie” but denies the site incites violence and promotes terrorism.





Greens push to dump Lord's Prayer from Federal Parliament (ABC News)

Feb 13 - A proposal to have a minute of silent reflection instead of reciting a Christian prayer in Federal Parliament is being introduced in the Senate today.





Murderer Simon Gittany painted as a Jekyll and Hyde character at sentencing (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Feb 12 - At age 21 Simon Gittany bit part of a policeman's ear off after the officer tried to bring him to court to face stolen goods charges. Within two years he was living the barren, chaste existence of a novice monk in a French religious order.


Take note: this chemist disapproves of contraceptives (The Age, Melbourne)

Feb 13 - Pharmacy chain Soul Pattinson has cut ties with a chemist who came under fire for asking customers to shop elsewhere if they use the pill for birth control, with the Prime Minister describing the chemist’s behaviour as ‘‘highly unusual’’.


Also: Soul Pattinson pharmacy chain dumps devout Catholic chemist in furore over pill (The Age, Melbourne)

Feb 15 - Pharmacy chain Soul Pattinson has dumped a chemist who came under fire for asking customers to shop elsewhere if they use the contraceptive pill for birth control.


Tribunal to hear church discrimination claims (ABC News)

Feb 13 - The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will hear evidence today from a north-west Victorian woman who argues she was denied full access to her local Greek parish at Mildura.


Also: VCAT reserves decision in church discrimination case (ABC News)

Feb 14 - The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has reserved its decision on a discrimination case involving a Mildura church.


So, who are the smartest scientists? (The Australian)

Feb 14 - SOCIAL science professors at elite institutions are more likely to be religious and politically extreme than their counterparts in the natural sciences, argues a new paper.


Unholy row as neighbours complain that noisy churches are ... taking the peace (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)

Feb 16 - A RELIGIOUS racket in the suburbs is disturbing the peace as a balance is sought between a right to worship and the Sunday sleep in.





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