Australia Religion & Spirituality
Handshake banned in Northern Ireland churches over ‘Aussie flu’
Inside Australia's stunning 99-domed mosque
Melbourne CBD attack: Alleged driver Saeed Noori rambled about Allah, ASIO
Rohingya threats ahead of expected forced returns
After Alabama vote, soul-searching among US evangelicals
Rohingya death toll likely above 10,000, MSF says amid exodus
Pope Francis warned not to use term 'Rohingya' on Myanmar visit
Chinese police dynamite Christian megachurch
2018-01-14 00:08:57 Hong Kong: Chinese police officers have demolished one of the country's largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshipped. The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province in mainland China was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China   Read More ...
Myanmar leader says army admission on Rohingya killings a 'positive step'
2018-01-13 07:16:48 Tokyo: Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says it is "positive" that the country's military was taking responsibility for the actions of troops, after the army said soldiers were involved in killing 10 captured Rohingya Muslims. The military said in a statement on Wednesday that soldiers and Buddhist villagers had murdered 10 Muslim "terrorists" at a village in northern Rakhine State at the beginning of September and that action would be taken against those responsible   Read More ...
Chinese police dynamite Christian megachurch
2018-01-13 05:38:34 Hong Kong: Chinese police officers have demolished one of the country's largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshipped. The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province in mainland China was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China   Read More ...
Myanmar's military admits to role in killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave
2018-01-10 22:13:29 Myanmar's military has acknowledged that its security forces and Buddhist villagers killed 10 Rohingya Muslims whose bodies were found in a mass grave in a village in troubled Rakhine state. Key points: The 10 Rohingya bodies were found in December in a mass grave in Inn Din village Military said the Rohingya had threatened Buddhist villagers and were killed in retaliation More than 650,000 Rohingya have had to flee into Bangladesh since August last year The public admission of wrongdoing is the military's first since it launched "clearance operations" against ethnic Rohingya in August, prompting more than 650,000 to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh in what the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing   Read More ...
Handshake banned in Northern Ireland churches over ‘Aussie flu’
2018-01-06 09:09:52 A Catholic diocese in Northern Ireland has suspended the ‘sign of peace’ handshake in its masses due to the risk of infection from a strain of a flu first discovered in Australia, a media report said on Saturday. At least 170,000 cases were confirmed at the end of the Australian winter, more than twice as many as in 2016. According to health officials, there 72 flu-related deaths, the Guardian report said   Read More ...
Gunmen kill several at Nigeria church service
2018-01-02 18:13:46 Lagos: A Nigerian official says gunmen have shot dead at least 17 worshippers who were attending a church service to usher in the new year. The chairman of a local community group, Osi Olisa, said on Tuesday that the gunmen also shot people on the road before escaping. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack in River State, though suspicion has fallen on an armed group believed to be behind kidnappings and killings in the area   Read More ...
Inside Australia's stunning 99-domed mosque
2018-01-01 04:05:44 A new 99-domed mosque in Australia is attracting attention for its bold, brutalist design. But the architect behind the project, Angelo Candalepas, is hoping that his creation can do more than win plaudits -- he's wants it to help improve interfaith relations in the Sydney suburb of Punchbowl. Scheduled to open in time for Ramadan this May, the mosque has been designed to feel welcoming to the whole community, regardless of religion   Read More ...
Is the commercialisation of yoga and meditation all that bad?
2018-01-01 02:04:29 Yoga, mindfulness and meditation: Is the commercialisation of spirituality all that bad? Rochelle Livingstone was eight when a "hippie" school teacher introduced her to yoga. Eastern spiritual practices were scant in her suburb of Highbury, north London. But by her mid-teens, Ms Livingstone had joined up with "old ladies in a village hall" to perform sun salutes. Then, in her 20s, she moved to Sydney, fell in love with the eastern suburbs, and found a yoga studio in which to develop her practice   Read More ...
Egypt attack: At least 10 dead in attack on Coptic church south of Cairo
2017-12-29 14:15:00 Ten people have been killed in an attack outside a Coptic Christian church in southern Cairo, including a gunman, Egypt's Health Ministry spokesman says. The two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said. Officials said one gunman was shot dead shortly after the attack   Read More ...
Indian parliament votes to outlaw Islamic 'triple talaq' divorces
2017-12-29 04:07:11 India's lower house of parliament has approved a bill making the Muslim practice of instant divorce, known as "triple talaq", illegal and punishable with up to three years imprisonment. tKey points: Talaq is the arabic word for divorce Saying Talaq three times at any time and via any medium, including text message or social media post would mean instant divorce The bill must be approved by the upper house before becoming law There are 170 million Muslims in India MPs voted a few months after India's Supreme Court struck down the practice as unconstitutional   Read More ...
Marion Mosque community receives public support after worshipper punched
2017-12-26 02:06:08 The Muslim congregation at a suburban Adelaide mosque where a worshipper was attacked last week has been overwhelmed by a show of public support in the wake of the incident. After evening prayer on Friday, the worshipper was punched in the face at Marion Mosque at Park Holme by a member of the public. The victim was struck after refusing to answer questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that he did not have the necessary insight   Read More ...
Parts of Australia set to sizzle on Christmas, Church leaders reflect and tweet
2017-12-24 22:07:09 Parts of Australia set to sizzle on Christmas, Church leaders reflect and As people in some parts of Australia get ready to celebrate Christmas in sizzling heat, the nation's Church leaders have offered messages of hope, love and generosity, with one even condensing his spiritual remarks into a single. People in Queensland are set to flock to the beach for Christmas, with temperatures tipped to soar above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas and severe thunderstorms expected to hit in the afternoon   Read More ...
Melbourne CBD attack: Alleged driver Saeed Noori rambled about Allah, ASIO
2017-12-22 18:04:49 Alleged Melbourne attack driver Saeed Noori rambled about Allah, Australia's spy agency ASIO and the mistreatment of Muslims in the hours after the attack, police say. Police revealed more on Friday afternoon about what the 32-year-old drug addict told them as investigators continue to search for a motive behind the rampage. It comes as Noori was discharged from hospital and into police custody, where he was set to spend the night before being formally interviewed by homicide detectives on Saturday   Read More ...
What history really tells us about Jesus' birth
2017-12-21 22:12:20 I might be about to ruin your Christmas. Sorry. But the reality is those nativity plays in which your adorable children wear tinsel and angel wings bear little resemblance to what actually happened. Neither does your average Christmas card featuring a peaceful nativity scene. These are traditions, compilations of different accounts that reflect a later Christian piety. So what really happened at that so-called "first Christmas"? Firstly, the actual birth day of Jesus was not December 25   Read More ...
In Rohingya crisis, doing nothing could be a crime
2017-12-19 08:10:17 Bangkok: The United Nations human rights chief has raised the possibility of Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi being charged over atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. Zeid Raad al-Hussein said whether genocide has been committed would need to be decided by an international court but judges could consider the "crime of omission". "That if it came to your knowledge that this was being committed, and you did nothing to stop it, then you could be capable as well for that," Prince Zeid told the BBC, referring to the Nobel laureate who was swept into power in 2015   Read More ...
Rohingya threats ahead of expected forced returns
2017-12-18 08:14:55 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps have threatened to take their own lives should they be forced back to Myanmar, according to a report Oxfam released on Monday. The aid group has water and sanitation projects and is distributing food and supplies in the camps near Cox's Bazaar. It interviewed 208 refugees for the report. More than 647,000-odd Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since a military crackdown on their villages in Rakhine state in late August   Read More ...
Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi may face genocide charges over Rohingya crisis, UN official says
2017-12-18 08:14:35 The United Nations' top human rights official has raised the prospect of Myanmar's defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi facing charges over the deaths and expulsion of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Key points: A UN official has not ruled out charging military and government leaders of genocide He says he personally warned Aung San Suu Kyi to stop the killings Myanmar denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, says he would not be surprised if a future court found the military campaign against the Rohingya people amounted to genocide   Read More ...
Rohingya threats ahead of expected forced returns
2017-12-17 21:10:07 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps have threatened to take their own lives should they be forced back to Myanmar, according to a report Oxfam released on Monday. The aid group has water and sanitation projects and is distributing food and supplies in the camps near Cox's Bazaar. It interviewed 208 refugees for the report. More than 647,000-odd Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since a military crackdown on their villages in Rakhine state in late August   Read More ...
Royal commission: The abused are many, and so are the dead, but do Church leaders really get it?
2017-12-15 22:09:03 In politics, it is rare that a mechanism for unqualified good is put in place. A body called by the highly provisional title, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, might have proved to have been a squib if not given appropriate powers and if not well-led. But it was given such powers, and like others, I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister refer to the completed hearings as "an outstanding exercise of love"   Read More ...
After Alabama vote, soul-searching among US evangelicals
2017-12-15 15:11:55 The editor-in-chief of Christianity Today did not have to wait for the votes to be counted to publish his essay bemoaning what the Alabama Senate race had wrought. Whoever wins, "there is already one loser: Christian faith," wrote Mark Galli, whose publication, the flagship of American evangelicalism, was founded 61 years ago by the Reverend Billy Graham. "No one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation   Read More ...
Australian child abuse inquiry recommends end to mandatory celibacy for clergy
2017-12-15 15:08:21 Report found 'catastrophic failures of leadership' in Catholic Church Related Stories An Australian inquiry into child abuse recommended Friday that the Roman Catholic Church lift its demand of celibacy from clergy and that priests be prosecuted for failing to report evidence of pedophilia heard in a confessional. The 17-volume document from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse marks the end of one of the world's biggest inquiries into child abuse   Read More ...
Australian abuse report calls for end to sanctity of confession
2017-12-15 07:12:07 SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia should introduce a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including Catholic priests told of abuse in the confessional, said a report on Friday which detailed institutional abuse, particularly in the Catholic Church. One the country's top catholics, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, said such a law would undermine a central tenet of Catholicism, the sacredness of the confessional, and warned that any priest breaking the seal of confession would be excommunicated   Read More ...
Australian child abuse report calls for end to sanctity of confession, voluntary celibacy for clergy
2017-12-15 04:38:51 SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia should introduce a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including Catholic priests who are told of abuse in the confessional, according to a report into institutional child abuse released on Friday. The 17-volume document from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse marks the end of one of the world’s biggest inquiries into child abuse   Read More ...
Rohingya death toll likely above 10,000, MSF says amid exodus
2017-12-14 12:18:36 The number of Rohingya Muslims killed during and after the Myanmar military's "clearance operations" is likely above 10,000, according to medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Key points: Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled from violence in northern Myanmar The charity says even by conservative estimates, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the violence Myanmar authorities said in September fewer than 400 people had been killed The estimate is based on surveys of surviving refugees in Bangladesh and is the first attempt to quantify the number of fatalities since early September, when Myanmar authorities said 394 Rohingya had died, claiming the casualties were mostly militants   Read More ...
Myanmar arrests two Reuters journalists with leaked Rohingya attack documents
2017-12-14 02:51:18 Bangkok: Myanmar's government has arrested two journalists working for the Reuters newsagency who had been leaked documents on brutal military-led attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine State. Reuters said it was "outraged" by the arrests of Wa Lone, 31 and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, who have been held under the country's draconian Official Secrets Act that carries penalties of up to 14 years jail   Read More ...
Jihadi or psychotic? Prosecutor, psychiatrist disagree over wife-killer's motive
2017-12-06 06:15:11 A psychiatrist says a man who murdered and mutilated his wife in front of their children was psychotic at the time but prosecutors believe he was motivated by his radical Islamic beliefs. The 36-year-old, who cannot be named in order to protect his children, appeared before the Supreme Court on Wednesday for a pre-sentence hearing. The man pleaded guilty in September to murdering his wife at their Broadmeadows home in June 2016   Read More ...
'I ask forgiveness,' Pope Francis tells Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh
2017-12-02 03:08:10 Dhaka, Bangladesh: On the eve of his return to Rome, Pope Francis used the word "Rohingya," coming face-to-face with some of the persecuted Muslims whose plight had cast a long shadow over his visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Critics had been asking why a pontiff who so often condemned injustice against the downtrodden had stayed silent earlier in the week, when he made his first visit to Myanmar, a country in which Rohingya Muslims have been raped, killed or driven into exile in Bangladesh by a brutal military campaign of repression   Read More ...
Mortar inside Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre backs up story of how emperor's mother found Jesus's tomb
2017-12-01 02:09:28 The discovery of late-Roman era mortar under a slab of marble at the site which some believe to be the burial place of Jesus Christ backs up contemporary accounts of the tomb's discovery, scientists say. Key points: Christ's tomb is inside Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre Historical accounts say Emperor Constantine found the tomb about 325-326 AD A slab in the tomb dates back to 335-345 AD According to historical accounts, the Emperor Constantine — who was the first Roman ruler to convert to Christianity — discovered the rocky tomb with assistance from his mother, Helena, between 325 and 326 AD, buried beneath a temple to the Roman goddess Venus in Jerusalem   Read More ...
Pope Francis calls for peace in Myanmar without saying 'Rohingya'
2017-11-29 00:16:30 Naypyitaw, Myanmar: Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has constantly used his pulpit to champion the downtrodden and draw attention to the misery of the powerless and the persecuted. He risked the fury of Turkey by describing the mass killings of Armenians in World War I as a genocide. He apologised for the silence of church leaders in the Rwandan genocide of 1994   Read More ...
Parishioner ordered to pay $150,000 to archbishop over defamatory Facebook posts
2017-11-26 04:06:39 A parishioner who launched a Facebook tirade against the archbishop of his church has been ordered to pay $150,000 in damages after the religious leader sued him for defamation in the NSW Supreme Court. Mar Meelis Zaia, the Archbishop of the Assyrian Church of the East in Australia, took legal action against former parishioner Sargon Eshow after Mr Eshow waged what Justice Lucy McCallum described as a "campaign of criticism" against him online   Read More ...
Egypt mosque death toll rises to 305, military carries out air strikes
2017-11-25 16:19:38 The death toll in a devastating militant attack on a mosque on Friday in Egypt's North Sinai has risen to 305, including 27 children, and 128 more people were injured, according to the MENA state news agency. Key points: Gunmen carried Islamic State flags Egypt's military carry out air strikes and raids killing passengers in several vehicles President Sisi declares three days of mourning The gunmen who carried out the attack were carrying Islamic State (IS) flags and were between 25 and 30 in number, the public prosecutor's office said in a statement   Read More ...
Deal to repatriate Rohingya to Myanmar a 'stunt': Human Rights Watch
2017-11-24 19:14:52 Bangkok: Human Rights Watch has described an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to begin repatriating more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar's violence-wracked Rakhine State as "laughable" and a "public relations stunt." In a brief statement Bangladesh said the neighbouring countries had agreed to start returning Rohingya to Rakhine within two months. The agreement was signed on Thursday in Naypyitaw   Read More ...
Deal to repatriate Rohingya to Myanmar a 'stunt': HRW
2017-11-24 06:10:52 Bangkok: Human Rights Watch has described an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to begin repatriating more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar's violence-wracked Rakhine State as "laughable" and a "public relations stunt." In a brief statement Bangladesh said the neighbouring countries had agreed to start returning Rohingya to Rakhine within two months. The agreement was signed on Thursday in Naypyitaw   Read More ...
#ChurchToo: Christian victims of abuse join social media outpouring
2017-11-24 06:09:32 They were bound to be told sooner or later: stories of men who allegedly raped women, only to later become pastors. Stories from women who were counselled by priests to stay in abusive marriages and "submit" to their husbands; to cope with violence by praying, forgiving. Claims that church leaders, teachers and parents who, when told of heinous abuse in church settings, denied or ignored it   Read More ...
Myanmar: US calls operation against Rohingya Muslims 'ethnic cleansing'
2017-11-22 20:12:20 The United States has labelled the Myanmar military operation against the Rohingya population "ethnic cleansing", and threatened targeted sanctions against those responsible for what it described as "horrendous atrocities". Key points: Rex Tillerson says abuses have caused "tremendous suffering" More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state US also investigating whether events in Myanmar constitute genocide "The situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement, using a term he avoided when visiting Myanmar last week   Read More ...
Myanmar's discrimination against Rohingya Muslims is 'apartheid': Amnesty International
2017-11-21 20:50:29 By Southeast Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane in Bangkok Myanmar's policies that restrict ethnic Rohingyas from travelling, visiting a hospital or going to school amount to apartheid, Amnesty International says. Key points: Amnesty's report result of two-year investigation into discrimination against Rohingyas Rohingyas have restricted access to education and healthcare, report says Myanmar's de facto leader said she "can't say whether it has happened or not" The organisation released a report in Bangkok titled Caged Without A Roof, which detailed widespread discrimination in place even before the violence that has driven 600,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh   Read More ...
Pope Francis warned not to use term 'Rohingya' on Myanmar visit
2017-11-21 04:12:51 Bangkok: Myanmar's Catholic Church fears Pope Francis' imminent visit to the Buddhist-majority country, where religious tensions are near boiling point, could ignite attacks on Muslims. Francis has been warned against even using the term "Rohingya" to describe 1.1 million Muslims who have been targeted by Myanmar security forces in the brutal offensive the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing" and human rights groups described as "crimes against humanity"   Read More ...
WA church leaders 'armed with flowers and muffins' to be charged with trespassing
2017-11-13 11:09:34 A group of church leaders protesting Australia's handling of the Manus Island crisis are set to be charged with trespassing after they conducted a sit-in at Social Services Minister Christian Porter's Perth office. Pastors and priests, believed to be a part of the #LoveMakesAWay movement, entered Mr Porter's Ellenbrook office just before 2pm on Monday. They began to pray in a circle and insisted they were not interrupting the work of staff, but police arrived soon after to issue move-on notices   Read More ...
'Bitcoin Jesus' still smiling despite $9.1 million bet falling through
2017-11-13 01:36:09 The man known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' feels like a winner even though he wasn't able to collect $US7 million ($9.1 million) from a wager with other cryptocurrency evangelists over the success of a now cancelled offshoot of bitcoin. That's because the version of bitcoin that Roger Ver's promoting with as much fervour as he once preached in the early days of the original cryptocurrency is on a tear   Read More ...
Doctors urged to prescribe yoga, mindfulness not drugs to fight lower back pain
2017-11-12 14:09:51 Louisa O'Neill will never forget the first time she could kick a footy with her son. He was six. Until then, she had been in too much pain. Since slipping while running to catch a train as a 16-year-old, the Mornington mother has suffered chronic pain in her lower back. "It's a silent illness," she said. "No one can see your pain   Read More ...