Religion news 30 October

The Labour party and antisemitism – illegal acts, Corbyn suspended, bitter dispute

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report into allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, has found it was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination”. The report identified a lack of leadership within the Labour Party “which is hard to reconcile with its stated commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism”. Former leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that he did not accept all of the findings and the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by opponents inside and outside the party, and much of the media. He was subsequently suspended from the party. The Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl welcomed the suspension saying his statement showed he was part of the problem and is an obstruction to the resolution of the issue.”

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Second Islamist terror attack in France

Three people have been killed in a horrific knife attack in the city of Nice, southern France. Multiple sources say the killer was heard repeatedly shouting “Allahu akbar”, Arabic for “God is the greatest”. One of his victims was virtually beheaded. Only two weeks ago, a history teacher was beheaded in a Paris street after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a class. President Emmanuel Macron described this latest murder as an “Islamist terror attack” and vowed to stand up for France’s values. Middle East, Arab and Islamic leaders condemned the attack, drawing a clear distinction between their religion and violent acts committed in its name.

Faith leaders call on government to address child poverty

Faith leaders in the UK are calling  on the government to set up a cross-party commission to address child poverty and for immediate measures to protect children this winter.  In an  open letter to the Prime Minister, the say the rising use of food banks is the extreme and visible manifestation of a much broader and deep-seated problem. In the short term they are appealing for the rise in universal credit to be made permanent, and for free school meal vouchers. In the long-term, a cross party strategy is needed to tackle the underlying causes of child poverty, including low pay, educational disadvantage, and the shortage of affordable housing and childcare

Jerry Falwell sues university for defamation

Jerry Falwell Jr., who resigned as president of the evangelical Liberty University in August after a sex scandal and other controversies, is suing the university for defamation and breach of contract. The legal action was filed on Wednesday in the Circuit Court for Lynchburg, Virginia. The Associated Press reports that it alleges that Liberty officials accepted ‘ false claims’ about his involvement in an extramarital affair between his wife and a business partner of the couple’s and “moved quickly” to destroy his reputation..

Doorkins Magnificat’s cathedral memorial service

Doorkins Magnificat, a tabby street cat who made Southwark Cathedral her home, has been given a memorial service and her remains have been buried in the Cathedral grounds. She became a celebrity, featuring on a range of products and was the subject of a book. The Dean, Andrew Nunn, said her story of finding a home and welcome in the Cathedral, touched peoples lives. In a lone dissent, the Bishop of Burnley Philip North tweeted “Is this a joke?”