Week commencing 13th December 2021

The Guardian runs a story about a discrimination bill being discussed in Australia. Religious Australians will be given greater freedom of speech than non-religious expressions of conscience under the Coalition’s bill, a leading academic has warned. The bill states that “statements of belief” do not breach discrimination laws, including a statement of a religious belief or “a belief that the person genuinely considers to relate to the fact of not holding a religious belief”.

Also in the Guardian, there is ‘outrage’ after a teacher has been removed from a classroom in Quebec for wearing a hijab. In Canada, some public servants are barred from wearing religious symbols.

Religion News Service reports on a new poll in the US that suggests the proportion of its population who have a faith is diminishing.

Al Jazeera reports that US Congress members are urging President Biden to meet with the Dalai Lama to ensure that Tibetans’ rights remain high on the agenda.

Al Jazeera also reports on the UN’s claim that credible evidence has been received that shows the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan is marked by hundreds of extrajudicial killings and the continued restriction on women and girls.