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In the Press

  • An anti-persecution charity has reported that a Christian pastor in Sudan has been acquitted of charges against him.
    Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says that Pastor Hafiz Mengisto, senior minister of the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, has been acquitted of obstructing a public servant from performing the duties of his office.
    Mohamed Mustafa, the lawyer for the church, was also charged with the same crime but was acquitted as well.
    The trials began in December and the court accepted that the prosecution had failed to follow due procedure when initiating a criminal case against a registered lawyer before dismissing it.
    Pastor Mengisto and Mr Mustafa were arrested and charged in July 2015 after police officers came to Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church with a court order to demolish a building on the church's property.
  • A Catholic nursing home for elderly patients in Diest, Belgium, has been sued by the family of a 74-year-old cancer patient for having denied access to her doctor who was to euthanize her four years ago.
    Mariette Buntjens, whose metastatic cancer was causing her much suffering in its terminal stage, was eventually removed from the nursing home by ambulance and taken to her home in order to be killed after having said goodbye to her loved ones “in peaceful surroundings.” The lawsuit was filed soon after by her daughter, Nadine Engelen, against the non-profit association to whom the Sint-Augustinus rest home belongs. After two postponements, a hearing is to take place in April at a civil court in Louvain.
    The lawsuit is being seen as a landmark case in Belgium where conscientious objection against euthanasia is part of the law for doctors and medical staff, but where the euthanasia lobby is hoping to establish that medical institutions cannot refuse euthanasia to be performed within their walls for moral reasons.
  • Pastor James McConnell from Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, has been prosecuted under the 2003 Communications Act after he said Islam was "heathen", "satanic" and a "doctrine spawned in hell".
    The 78-year-old faced two charges - improper use of a public electronic communications network and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network - after the comments made from the pulpit of his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle on May 18 2014 were streamed online.
    He denied both alleged offences.
    District Judge Liam McNally heard the high profile trial over three days at Belfast Magistrates' Court last month but reserved his judgment.
  • A headteacher who was accused of misconduct in the so-called Trojan horse scandal in Birmingham has been banned indefinitely from teaching after being found guilty of professional misconduct.
    Jahangir Akbar, who was the acting headteacher of Oldknow academy in Small Heath, Birmingham, was found by a disciplinary hearing to have “failed to uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviours”. Investigators said he allowed an undue amount of religious influence on the education of pupils at his school.
    The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel found that Akbar put pressure on teachers who did not share his views to leave, promoted those who supported him, reformed the curriculum to exclude sex education, separated boys from girls in some classes and banned the celebration of Christmas and Diwali.
    Akbar also reacted inappropriately by shouting at a parent when challenged about his daughter’s education, and said he was glad when a pupil was said to have been bullied. The tribunal said Akbar’s behaviour amounted to “misconduct of a serious nature”.
    In a ruling published by the government, the panel said that “by decreasing the diversity of religious education and eliminating a diverse range of cultural events, there was a failure [by Akbar] to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural and mental development of pupils at the school”. 
  • “First, I am from a Muslim background,” Firuza* said, scooting her white plastic chair farther into the sun as she shared her story during a short break from babysitting. “In school we were taught there was no God. God doesn’t exist… I learnt about God in my family. My grandfather was a Muslim leader, a mullah. He taught us stories of God from the Qur’an.”
    Desiring devoutness, Firuza quit high school at age 15 to study in an Islamic boarding school about an hour away from her house. Ten days into her stay, however, she returned home.
    “The head of the [school] was a very rude, yelling woman, all covered in black, and I was scared. I didn’t see any godliness,” she explained.
    Firuza re-enrolled in high school, learnt reading and Arabic script, and continued following standard Islamic practices: attending the mosque, praying and fasting during Ramadan. After finishing high school, she decided to study in her country’s capital city.
    “There, I heard about Jesus for the first time,” she remembered.
  • Christianity is being subtly “silenced” within the public sector in the UK because of a civil service culture which treats speaking about faith as “not the done thing”, according to a former top Whitehall mandarin appointed as Church of England’s most senior lay official.
    William Nye said a “secularising spirit” now permeates the machinery of government, leading to an unspoken “squeezing out of Christianity” from national life, despite public expressions of support from David Cameron and other ministers.
    He said ministers or the general public would be surprised to realise the full extent to which faith is now seen as “odd and unusual” within the public sector in Britain.
  • A new anti-abortion campaign has been launched in Scotland to fight moves which it claims could see terminations legalised “up until the point of birth” when responsibility for the matter is handed to Holyrood.
    The coalition, called Don’t Stop a Beating Heart, has been formed amid concerns over what it calls a “clamour” to extend the current 24-week time limit which the group says is already too liberal.
    Holyrood will take control of the issue later this year and although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the current time limit won’t be changed, her predecessor Alex Salmond and former health secretary Alex Neil were in favour of tightening the limit.
    The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, is among those backing the new campaign.
  • Schools in England do not need to give non-religious views "equal air time" and should continue to teach pupils that the UK is a principally Christian country, new education guidelines say.

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan issued the advice a month after the High Court ruled that the new religious studies GCSE wrongfully excluded atheism.

    Humanist groups said the legal verdict had "implications" for the curriculum.

    But Mrs Morgan said schools had the "freedom" to make their own decision.
    After the High Court found against the government, ministers dropped plans to take the issue to the Court of Appeal.
    But the new guidance issued by the Department for Education in England clarified that there would be no need to give non-religious beliefs "equal air time" in lessons, saying the court defeat had been on a "narrow, technical point".
  • The number of primary school-aged children, some as young as four, beginning to “transition” their gender is rising rapidly in the UK. The popularity of the fad appears to be clustered, with children copying others in the same schools.
    Up to 80 primary school-aged children a year are now seeking help towards potentially changing their gender, the chair of Mermaids, a charity which lobbies for families who believe their children and teenagers are transgendered, has revealed.
    Speaking to the Telegraph, Susie Green said that, in some cases, British children as young as four are already in the process of “transitioning” to another sex.
    She also described how her organisation has observed a cluster effect across the country, with children following one and another in the same school; a school where there might be a teacher who promotes transgender ideology.
  • A young family will celebrate their very own Christmas miracle tomorrow - with their little baby girl who came back from the brink of death.
    Just five months ago devastated Francesca, 41, and husband Lee Moore-Williams, 44, watched as their baby daughter took what they thought was her last breath.
    They took one last photograph, and wept as one-year-old Bella lay sedated in a hospital's intensive care unit and her life-supporting ventilator was turned off.

    But incredibly just 30 minutes later, the toddler, who doctors had given up for dead, began to improve and soon she began kicking and screaming.


  • Watch the 'Browns', who are in court this week, reveal the story behind their sons' removal 1 hour 22 min ago
  • RT : Watched God's Not Dead 2 last night, they did a great job with it. 👍 1 hour 44 min ago
  • In light of the report on trans children watch Andrew Marsh discuss hormone-blockers on Sky Debate: 3 hours 57 sec ago
  • In the news - : "Heads discuss teaching of religious education" 4 hours 27 min ago
  • In the news - : "Sanitary bins 'should be placed in male toilets for transgender men on periods'" ttp:// 4 hours 47 min ago

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