Religion news 25 May 2021

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Image credit: RMC

Bishop questions whether Diana report puts too much ‘on to the head of Martin Bashir’

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, has questioned whether the Lord Dyson report into the Princess Diana interview put too much “on to the head of Martin Bashir”. And he is concerned that the report has given the opportunity for “BBC-haters to give it a thrashing”. Speaking to Roger Bolton at a Religion Media Centre briefing, he said he was surprised at Bashir’s appointment as BBC religious affairs correspondent in 2016, a decision the BBC is now investigating. The bishop discussed Prince William’s view, that the interview was linked to Princess Diana’s death, but he said this devastating response may not stand the test of time. He questioned whether the subsequent scrutiny of the BBC was to build up or diminish the corporation. See the media briefing on our YouTube channel here:

Faith leaders call for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has signed a joint declaration calling for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. The statement, released on the opening day of the World Health Assembly, is co-signed by Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders, and many other international organisations. They say the world is at a turning point and decisive leadership is needed to achieve greater justice, abundance and dignity.

Antisemitic attacks rise in America

At least 26 cases of antisemitism have been reported across the United States since the conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas, The Washington Post reports. These include protest signs calling Zionists “Nazis”, physical attacks and vandalism at synagogues. The Anti-Defamation League says America saw its third-highest number of antisemitic attacks on record during the 2020 lockdowns.

Sharp rebuke over Palestine demo banner

The Council of Christians and Jews says it is appalled by a banner at the pro-Palestinian demonstration in London on Saturday, which showed a drawing of Jesus Christ carrying the cross with words “Do not let them do the same thing today again”. It says there is no excuse for such imagery.

Lord Mann, the government’s independent antisemitism adviser has said that former English Defence League leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon should be excluded at all times from any Jewish community event after his appearance at a pro-Israel demonstration in London on Sunday. The Jewish News reports that the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Community Security Trust, Zionist Federation and We Believe In Israel groups all issued statements condemning the presence of Yaxley-Lennon — also known as Tommy Robinson — at the protest.

Latin American RC church adopts democratic structures

The Latin American Roman Catholic church has pledged to reorganise its structure as a synod — a gathering of all church members with equal rights to a vote. Vatican News reports that the Latin American Episcopal Council vowed to become more missionary, synodal and outgoing. It says the consultation between members in synodical government has the ability to overcome conflict and transcend differences, enabling the fight for justice, safeguarding the environment and reaffirming cultural heritage. 

Five-year-old Sikh boy’s sacred hair cut by another pupil

The parents of a five-year-old Sikh boy, whose hair was cut by another pupil at the end of a school day, have complained that their son is now traumatised. Sikh religious laws say that hair is sacred and should never be cut. The incident happened at a school in southeast London, which says the matter is being investigated thoroughly and fairly.

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