Religion news 29 September 2023

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“Beyond tragic” – bishop’s verdict on Croydon killing

The Bishop of Croydon, Dr Rosemarie Mallett, has said the killing of a 15 year old girl on her way to school is “just beyond tragic”.  Police have named the girl as Elianne Andam, who was stabbed after she got off a bus as she reportedly tried to protect a friend. A 17 year old boy has been arrested and is in custody. The Church Times quotes Bishop Rosemarie saying the incident proved more needed to be done to help disaffected boys and young men “drawn to negative behaviours, for money, for belonging, lack of hope or ambition, or due to peer pressure”. Jerome Hughes, from the anti-youth crime charity XLP, echoed the concern, urging churches to provide the love and support young people in the area crave. Premier Christian News story here

British Sikhs appeal for protection after pro Khalistan activist killed in Canada

The Sikh Federation has launched a letter writing campaign to appeal for more security advice and protection to British Sikhs in the wake of the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a pro Khalistan activist, in Canada. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, told parliament that there waas credible evidence that India was behind the murder of Nijjar, who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting outside a gurdwara – India has denied involvement. Sikhs in the UK have been concerned about security since the sudden death in Birmingham of a British pro-Khalistan activist in June, three days before Nijjar was shot, Police have said there are no suspicious circumstances but his mother alleges he was poisoned. In July, six British Sikhs were among 20 pro-Khalistan activists named as enemies of the state on a TV channel in India. They received police advice at the time. A demonstration is planned for Monday outside India’s high commission in London. Guardian report here

Mental health issues rise significantly among Jewish under 25s

The Jewish Chronicle reports findings from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, suggesting that 55 per cent of under 25-year-olds in the Jewish community say they are living with mental illness, distress, or trauma. This compares to 31 per cent in the general population. And 26 per cent of Jews of all ages said they were similarly affected. The research has prompted more than 50 Jewish doctors to call on the community to support the Jewish mental health charity Jami.  They said the levels of distress had increased significantly and investing in mental health care “is a must”.

Pilavachi faces ban from working with children or vulnerable adults

The Telegraph reports that Canon Mike Pilavachi, the founder of Soul Survivor who abused young men by giving them massages and wrestling them to the floor, is to be to be considered for the DBS Barred Lists, which could see him banned from working with children or vulnerable adults. The CofE has confirmed the case has been referred, in accordance with House of Bishops guidance and due to a legal duty. Pilavachi resigned as associate pastor of Soul Survivor Watford in July. 

Ahmadi graves and minarets destroyed in Pakistan

Ahmadis in Pakistan have reported than 74 graves were vandalised last week in Punjab’s Daska city and two minarets were demolished near Lahore. Al Jazeera reports the fear that this is a coordinated hate campaign by police and administrative officials, urged on by the right wing Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan political party. The Ahmadi community is a religious minority in Pakistan and is declared non-Muslim in the constitution, because of its belief that its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the promised Messiah.  They are banned from publicly displaying any symbol identifying them as Muslims, including minarets or domes on mosques. 

Next bishop of Peterborough weathered Winchester storm

The next Bishop of Peterborough has been named as Debbie Sellin, currently Bishop of Southampton. She has held the fort at the diocese of Winchester for two years, since Bishop Tim Dakin resigned following acrimony within the church, and has been credited with calming tensions. She is the daughter of a Scottish Episcopalian priest and before ordination, was an NHS manager.


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