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In the Press

  • Gospel singer Kim Burrell has responded to negative reactions to a sermon that she gave at a church in Houston, Texas where she used the word “perverted” in reference to gay people, according to the New York Times.

    During the sermon, which was taped at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church, Burrell refers to the “perverted homosexual spirit,” which drew backlash online, ahead of Burrell’s slated performance of a song from the film Hidden Figures alongside Pharrell on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday.

    In a pair of videos posted to Facebook Live last Friday, Burrell did not take back her words, but said that her words had been misrepresented by her “enemies” who had posted only a part of her original sermon.

    Read more.

  • The staggering levels of persecution against Christians around the world is documented in a new 'Hall of Shame' list released by watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC).

    ICC on Wednesday said that North Korea, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria were the worst state persecutors of Christians, while Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, India and Egypt were "perennial abusers of religious freedom".

    The persecution watchdog also listed a third category, 'New and Noteworthy', in which it placed countries where "events... indicate declining religious freedom and are cause for alarm".

    Read more.

  • The government is being urged to ensure witnesses in the so-called "Trojan Horse" inquiry are not revealed.

    Those who gave evidence to an inquiry into the alleged schools scandal fear their identities may be revealed despite a promise of anonymity.

    The action comes after the witnesses received letters saying their interview transcripts would be passed to the lawyers of teachers facing tribunals.

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  • The NAHT heads' union has condemned a move by government solicitors to notify dozens of people who gave evidence on the "Trojan Horse" affair that their identities will be disclosed to lawyers acting for five ex-head teachers facing a disciplinary hearing.

    Birmingham City Council has also opposed the move, saying it was "extremely alarmed" by the decision. It has called on the government to intervene to halt the disclosure.

    The Trojan Horse scandal emerged in late 2013, when Birmingham City Council received a letter referring to "Operation Trojan Horse": an alleged plot by some Muslim groups to take over schools in the city and run them on strict Islamic principles.

    Read more.

  • Couples will be able to divorce online this year under plans that could open the way for the abolition of fault-based grounds for ending marriage.

    Ministers are preparing a pilot project to allow divorce proceedings to be issued digitally for the first time, in a move to save time, paperwork and stress for thousands of people. More than 110,000 divorce proceedings were begun in 2015.

    The plan, backed by England’s most senior family judge, Sir James Munby, will be tested before being introduced across England and Wales in June.

    Read more.

  • People who practise their faith in a traditional, conservative way could face police investigations under a Government Extremism Bill, the terrorism watchdog has warned.

    David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, cautioned that people who are 'miles away from terrorism' could be caught up by a ‘broad-brush’ law on extremism.

    The Government promised a consultation on its extremism plans in the Queen’s Speech last year.

    Read more.

  • More than half of break-ups among couples with children involve unmarried men and women, a study showed yesterday.

    While there are nearly four times as many families with children headed by married couples, the number of break-ups among cohabitee parents is now higher, according to the Marriage Foundation think-tank.

    It said 51.4 per cent of couples with children who parted last year were cohabitees and 48.1 per cent were married.

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  • An independent Islamic boys' school where inspectors found a CCTV camera in toilets has been rated "inadequate".

    Ofsted downgraded Darul Hadis Latifiah in Bethnal Green, saying pupils were not being "prepared for life in modern Britain".

    Inspectors found "grimy" facilities and "inappropriate" literature.

    Read more.

  • Ofsted inspectors have downgraded an independent Islamic school in Tower Hamlets after finding "grimy" facilities, "inappropriate" books and a camera placed in the school toilets.

    Inspectors concluded that pupils were not being "prepared for life in modern Britain" after discovering "Inappropriate literature regarding women's role in society".

    Pupils at the Darul Hadis Latifiah had "no planned opportunities" to "socialise or work with girls" and very few pupils were able to name "the new British Prime Minister or were aware of the first female presidential candidate in the elections taking place in the United States of America."

    Read more.

  • Theresa May is poised to oversee the introduction of women into three key positions of power this year, with female candidates among the frontrunners for top jobs in the police, the church and the BBC.

    Recruitment is under way for a new Met police commissioner, a head of the new BBC unity board and a Bishop of London.

    The prime minister has a largely symbolic role in the three appointments but has a history of encouraging women in public life and will take a keen interest in the decisions, particularly because the home secretary, Amber Rudd, selects the new head of Scotland Yard.

    Read more.

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