Religion news 9 May 2024

Image credit: SikhPA

Three men in court charged with killing Sikh separatist in Canada

Three Indian men have appeared in court charged with killing the Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June last year. Kamalpreet Singh, 22; Karan Brar, 22; and Karanpreet Singh, 28, were arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, and have been charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.  They appeared in court via a video link from prison. Mr Nijjar, aged 45, was shot while in his pickup truck last June after he left a Sikh temple. He was a leader in the Khalistan movement to create a separate Sikh homeland. A few months after his death, the  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was evidence of Indian government involvement in Nijjar’s death. Canadian police are investigating whether the three accused  men had ties to the Indian government.

CAFOD partners in Rafah say situation for refugeees is a “cut and paste horror”

Independent Catholic News reports CAFOD partners in Gaza saying that the situation for families in Gaza is horrific, “a cut and paste kind of horror”, with families facing the prospect of moving for the fourth or fifth time as they seek shelter. It quotes Elizabeth Funnell, CAFOD’s Middle East representative, who keeps in touch with local partners and offices. She says that people on the ground in Gaza fear an offensive in Rafah will be catastrophic for civilians. CAFOD is urging the British government to end arms sales to Istrael and use every diplomatic effort to stop a strike on Rafah.

Report on pregnant CofE clergy reveals bullying and lack of pay

The Church Times reports that an analysis of maternity policies across the Church of England reveals wide variations, with one diocese offering clergy no maternity pay and another offering nine months full stipend. The research “Clergy Babies Maternity Policy Audit” was commissioned by the  National Association of Diocesan Advisers in Women’s Ministry and completed by women priests over two years. They cite one case where a woman going on maternity leave was encouraged to pay for her cover because she is “receiving pay for a job she isn’t doing”. And they document numerous reports of unfair or bullying behaviour by clergy towards pregnant curates. Church Times report here

Vice chancellors due to meet the Prime Minister today to discuss pro Palestine camp protests

The Prime Minister will meet university vice chancellors today to discuss the recent wave of pro Palestine protests on university campuses, where students have created pop up tent protest camps and Jewish students report rising antisemitism. The Chief Executive of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight that universities have tried to enable students to take part in legitimate protests, with tolerant and respectful debate. But where protests impinge on others’ rights, lapse into hate speech, antisemitism or Islamophobia, the universities need to act.

NUS stops move to declare Union of Jewish students is not representative

Jewish News reports that there was an attempt to force out the Union of Jewish Students from the National Union of Students, during its recent conference in Blackpool. A show of hands in a breakout session favoured the proposal, which questioned the legitimacy of UJS to represent all Jewish student voices. But it was quashed  by NUS officials who prevented the motion going forward for a formal vote by the conference. A statement from the NUS said it was not a matter for the conference: “The Union of Jewish Students is the representative body of Jewish students on our campuses, with a history older than NUS, and is recognised by NUS as an associate member”.

MPs pledge support for the proposed Holocaust Memorial next to parliament

Politicians across the political spectrum have renewed calls for a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to be built on Victoria Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament.  The Jewish Chronicle reports that the pledges came at an event to mark Yom HaShoah, the Jewish community’s day to remember the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust. The foreign secretary, Lord Cameron said that a permanent national Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens is needed now more than ever with rising antisemitism, as a reminder of what happened and where hatred leads. Shadow International Development secretary Lisa Nandy said the Labour party was 100 per cent committed to building the memorial.

Archbishop of York visits twin city New York sharing common concerns on migration and poverty

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, is presiding over the Ascension Day service at St Thomas’s Church in New York today, where the sermon will be preached by Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopalian Church USA.  The Archbishop has earlier blessed a ledger stone designed by York Minster, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the twinning of York and New York cities.  The Rev Canon Carl Turner, Rector of St Thomas, said the two cities have many similarities, with churches engaged in the local community, caring for refugees and tackling human trafficking. The Archbishop spent time with some of the church’s social care projects working with the homeless and migrants, offering front line support and food and shared conversations about international strategies to deal with the issues.


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