Religion in the News: 20th May – 26th May

Welcome to religion in the news.


This week in the news,


Al Jazeera reports: ‘Groups, mosques rally around Muslim foster children in Ramadan’

Young Muslims in foster care are being sent parcels for Ramadan containing books, food, and decorations to preserve their identity and celebrate Islam’s holy month.

500 children or more received the parcels which also contained a copy of the Quran in English translation, along with Ramadan recipe books and sweets.

Non-Muslim foster carers of Muslim children are quoted here saying how the boxes were a good idea, along with how their children loved the gifts and how it helped the other children ‘understand what being Muslim means and what Ramadan is.’

The founder of My Foster Family, who began the Ramadan box movement, Shadim Hussain stated:

‘We want to ensure that the efforts of diverse foster carers are recognised and appreciated by giving them the support they need during the special holy month of Ramadan’.


The Guardian reports, alongside the HuffPost on: ‘Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public’

A spike in antisemitic attacks across Europe has led to Germany’s government telling Jewish people to not always wear their kippah cap in public. The Israeli president suggested the statements made on this represented a ‘capitulation’ to antisemitism.

Felix Klein gave the advice against wearing the cap in public, stating ‘I cannot advise to Jews that they wear the kippah at all times everywhere in Germany’. The US ambassador further criticising the advice, saying ‘Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbours. Educate people that we are a diverse society.’ On Twitter.

The article further states that antisemitic hate crimes rose 20% in Germany last year, with nine out of ten cases being blamed on the extreme right according to interior ministry data of the government.

It was not specified by Klein where or at what times wearing the cap could be dangerous for Jewish people, while in the previous year, he recommended Jewish people do not wear the kippah while visiting big cities.

The Guardian further published the article: ‘Archbishop’s response to mandatory child sex abuse reporting labelled ‘pig-headed’’

Timothy Costelloe, Catholic archbishop in Perth stated that obliging religious leaders in Western Australia to reveal knowledge of child sex abuse could interfere “with the free practice of Catholic faith”, basing his argument on the idea that the removal of legal protections around confidentiality of religious confessions might cause distress to people of faith.

Costelloe believes that the laws might not be effective in protecting children from sexual predators.

Chrissie Foster, mother of two daughters who were abused by a Catholic priest opposed this perspective claiming that it is ‘ignorant and pig-headed’. She referred to the case of priest Michael McArdle, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing children. McArdle stated that he had confessed to such criminal acts 1,500 times to thirty priests over 25-years, and the priests did not stop him.

On this basis it is argued that the laws that are being imposed will protect children from sexual  predators who confess their acts to a priest; the offenders  would be caught due to priests having to inform the Church by law.


BBC News reports: ‘Birmingham LGBT row: The view from the school gates’, Further reporting: ‘Anderton Park school to close early amid protests’

Over these two articles the issues surrounding the protests against pupils being taught about LGBT+ relationships and issues in the classroom. The protestors claim the protest is not homophobic, yet still disagree with the children being taught about LGBT+ issues.

The ‘No Outsiders’ program is not taught at the Anderton Park school, but protestors claim that they teach similar lessons about equality and relationships. . The ‘No Outsiders’ scheme is another set of lessons aimed at teaching children about LBGT+ relationships, race, religion, adoption and disability.

The protesters further claim the children are too young to understand LGBT+ relationships through storybooks.

The council in Birmingham which oversees Anderton Park School decided to close the school at lunchtime on Friday 17th, with the city council stating that the demonstrations at the school had ‘escalated significantly over the past week’, moreover that pupils and staff had ‘shown remarkable resilience in the face of increasingly unpleasant protests’.

Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley announced that she would ‘stand and fight’ after the school was ‘forced to shut because of bullies and bigots’.

The council is working with the police to support the community when school resumes.


Religious News Service reports: ‘Russian Orthodox Church drops plan to build a new St. Catherine’s Cathedral’

Locals of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city objected to the construction of the new cathedral, as represented by their protest of over 2000 people, which defies the Russian law of unsanctioned public gatherings.

The cathedral was due to be constructed as an exact replica of the St. Catherine’s Cathedral which was destroyed in 1930 by the Soviet Union in their anti-religion movement.

There were further plans to build it in a park, with protestors arguing that they are not anti-religious, but claim they want to protect the green spaces in their city as there are so few of them, whereas there are lots of churches.


World Religion News reports: ‘Russian court denies appeal by Dennis Christensen’

Jehovah’s Witness, Dennis Christensen was arrested in May 2017 during his attendance of a Jehovah’s Witness worship service and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Christensen’s appeal for this sentencing was rejected by the Oryol Regional Court. International Spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Paul Gillies put forward his view that Russia was repeating some of its ‘darkest time in history’, further stating that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia ‘will remain resolute in the face of persecution.’.

Following raids and arrests, 197 Jehovah’s Witnesses now face criminal charges in Russia.


World Religion News further reports: ‘over 1.000 holocaust victims laid to rest’

The remains of over 1,200 Jewish victims were discovered by construction workers in Belarus in early 2019, in the city of Brest, which once housed the largest population of Jewish people before the Second World War.

The site was confirmed to have been a ghetto for the Jewish people set up by the Nazis in the years 1941 to 1942.

The Holocaust victims were carried away by soldiers from the construction site in Brest, to be reburied in 120 blue coffins with the Star of David emblem on them, further being buried in accordance with Jewish custom.

Some people, such as Holocaust survivor Marcel Drimer expressed unhappiness at the government’s decision to allow the construction to continue building on the site.