July 25, 2009

Hajj attendance curbed over swine flu fears

by David Masters

Swine flu fears have prompted Arab health officials to ban vulnerable groups from attending the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. People aged under 12 and over 65, and those with long-term health conditions, will be prevented from taking part in the event, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed. The decision – made by Arab health […]




Clerics issue fatwa against power theft

by David Masters

Senior Islamic scholars in Pakistan have issued a religious edict banning the theft of electricity. The fatwa, issued by the 12 clerics at the behest of the Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC), rules that stealing electricity is as illegal and sinful as any other form of theft. KESC claims electricity thieves are costing the firm […]




Jewish anger over Sabbath car park

by Benjamin Graham

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with Israeli police in a Jerusalem car park this weekend in a row over a car park being open on the Sabbath. The protesters fear the car park opening is the first step towards shops being allowed to trade on the holy day. Wearing traditional Hassidic clothing, the protesters threw […]




Church rejects calls to axe bishops

by Benjamin Graham

The cash-strapped Church of England has over-ruled calls from grassroots clergy to cut its salaries bill by reducing the number of bishops. The Church’s 113 bishops cost £37,320 each per year in wages, as well as £12 million in office and working costs, and £7.9 million on upkeep for the palaces and see houses occupied […]




July 24, 2009

Western Wall gets Twitter update

by David Masters

Jerusalem’s ancient Western Wall has been given a 21st century update with the launch of a new prayer service on social networking site Twitter. Visitors to the holy city traditionally post prayers on pieces of paper into the cracks of the 2,000 year old Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. With the Twitter […]




July 15, 2009

US church votes to allow gay bishops

by Benjamin Graham

Gay and lesbian clergy in the US Anglican church can be promoted to the role of bishop, the church’s leading body has ruled. The Episcopal Church General Convention voted to overturn a three-year ban on the appointment of gay bishops in a move that is expected to widen its rift with the Anglican Communion. “God […]




Mass-hanging of Sunni prisoners in Iran

by Sara Levy

Thirteen Sunni Muslims have been executed in Iran for their alleged role in a series of terrorist attacks in the south east of the country. The members of Jundallah (God’s Soldiers) were hanged Tuesday morning in a prison in Zahedan. According to the government of Shia-majority Iran, Jundallah is a terrorist organisation accused of killing […]




July 14, 2009

Obama meets the Pope

by Sara Levy

US President Barack Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time this week. Obama visited the leader of the Catholic Church at the Vatican immediately after the close of the G8 summit in Italy. The world’s economy topped the agenda of their discussions, following a recent papal encyclical that criticised businesses and governments […]




July 13, 2009

Brits support Christian Aid’s vision to end poverty

by Sara Levy

Nearly three quarters of Brits want to see an end to poverty in their lifetime, according to research published this week. The poll by Christian Aid found that 72% of UK adults hope for poverty to be defeated before they die. However, only 3% believe that this hope is realistically achievable. Over half (55%) of […]




Scholar cites evidence for halal homosexuality

by David Masters

A leading Muslim academic has claimed that homosexuality is compatible with the tenets of Islamic faith. Dr Amanullah De Sondy challenged Islamic orthodoxy, arguing that the same-sex relationships has historically been allowed (halal) in the Muslim tradition. Conservative Muslims refuse to acknowledge the historical evidence, De Sondy said, because they are “deeply homophobic”. “Homosexuality is […]




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