Religion news 14 December 2021

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Pope to meet authors of a report on French clergy sex abuse

Pope Francis has agreed to meet the commission that published a report into clergy sex abuse in the French Catholic church. It estimated that 330,000 children were victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy and affiliated lay workers over the past 70 years. French bishops say no date has been set for the meeting. They said the Pope has also expressed “sadness” over the sudden downfall of the archbishop of Paris, who resigned after his relationship with a woman before he became a bishop came to light.

Chief Rabbi expresses concern at BBC report on Oxford Street bus attack

The Jewish News reports that the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has written privately to Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, to express his concerns at a recent report about an incident when antisemitic abuse was hurled at Jewish young people on a bus travelling along Oxford Street during Hanakkah. The BBC said an anti-Muslim slur was spoken in English as the bus was under attack, but Jewish communities dispute this and the story has provoked an angry response.

Family renews appeal to free Sikh man detained without charge in India

The family of Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, have renewed their appeal for his release from detention in India. He was arrested four years ago shortly after his wedding in the Punjab region, accused of paying £4,000 in a murder plot against right wing Hindus. But there have been no charges or trial and he has been imprisoned since then. His brother, a Scottish solicitor, Gurpreet Singh Johal, believes Jagtar was arrested because he had written about historical human rights violations against Sikhs in India.

Scottish football should do more to stamp out antisemitism

Jordan Allison, campaign manager for Show Racism the Red Card, has told the Jewish Chronicle that Scottish football clubs have not done enough to put anti-racism measures in place at grounds. He says this allows antisemitic abuse to go unchecked in the stands and he is urging that the incidents should be documented and reported. The article charts concerns over antisemitism in football following recent incidents, but a Scotland supporter said the trouble came from only a small minority of fans, and the Scottish FA said it has an equality framework for diversity and inclusion. 

US politician Ilhan Omar awarded for courage in the face of Islamophobic attack

US Representative Ilhan Omar has been named American Muslim Public Servant of 2021, by the Council on American Islamic Relations.The citation said she had shown tremendous courage in the face of constant attacks and “all Americans of conscience stand in solidarity with her”. Two weeks ago, Representative Lauren Boebert made Islamophobic comments about Omar, calling her the Jihad squad. She called later to apologise for offense caused, but Omar ended the call saying Boebert had refused to publicly acknowledge her “hurtful and dangerous” comments.

Nine hour exorcism to drive out Satan ends in young woman fainting

Priests in a church in northeast Italy performed a nine hour exorcism on a 26-year-old woman who started screaming and convulsing when she arrived in the confessional booth. The woman’s mother believed her behaviour was the result of demonic influence and brought her to the St Mary of Mount Berico Sanctuary, the site of two miracle appearances of the Virgin Mary in the 15th century. The 80 year old official exorcist commanded Satan to leave her, with other friars and exorcists joining in prayers. After the ritual, she fell into a deep sleep, which the priests said was a sign of success, but she started screaming again and attacked a priest, until finally fainting, whereupon she was taken home by her parents.

Indian authorities crack down on egg sales

Local officials in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the north west Indian state of Gujarat, have banned the sale and display of meat, fish and eggs on the street. The New York Times says some vegetarian Hindus believe eggs to be meat products, so officials say that egg stalls hurt people’s religious sentiments. In one raid, officials swarmed onto a busy street, confiscating eggs and anything used to cook them. A street vendor, who said he could prepare eggs 156 ways, ran off with his carts. The backlash against the policing has led to a lawsuit and protests and the authorities have now relented, allowing sales of previously forbidden food to resume for now.


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