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In the Press

  • A road sign which appears to warn "beware of Jews" has appeared just yards from a synagogue in north London.

    The sign depicts the silhouette of an orthodox Jewish man wearing a traditional Fedora hat and was spotted on a lamppost in Stamford Hill on Tuesday.

    A member of a Jewish neighbourhood watch group saw the sign and reported it to police.

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  • Church communities are being urged to address the issue of domestic abuse and raise awareness of its impact on adults and children.

    The updated practice guidance and policy from the House of Bishops, published today by the Church of England, encourages churches to become places of safety where domestic abuse is taken seriously, survivors are believed and respected, and alleged or known perpetrators challenged. The updated document reflects legislative and other changes since the 2006 guidance*.

    Under the policy, Church leaders and Officers working with children, young people and vulnerable adults will be expected to undergo domestic abuse training with the issue being raised in appropriate contexts within church life including youth groups, marriage preparation and ordinand training. They will also be expected to work closely with statutory and other specialist organisations.

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  • Parishes are being urged to step up their fight against domestic violence in a new Church of England policy document launched on Wednesday.

    Clergy are warned they may face disciplinary action if they don't abide by the new guidance that aims to make churches safer for abuse victims.

    Responding Well to Domestic Abuse updates the CoE's previous policy in 2006 to include a broader understanding including the effects of 'controlling or coercive' behaviour in a relationship.

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  • A Jewish neighbourhood watch group has reported a road sign which appears to warn "beware of Jews" to the police.

    The sign, which appears to depict the silhouette of an orthodox Jewish man wearing a traditional Fedora hat, was found just 200 yards from a nearby synagogue in Stamford Hill, north London, on Tuesday.

    It was spotted by a member of a local Jewish neighbourhood group, Shomrim N E London, which then reported it to Hackney Police.

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  • A European court ruling that allowed companies to ban Muslim employees from wearing headscarves does not automatically apply in Britain, lawyers warned last night.

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled yesterday that such a ban does not constitute "direct discrimination" if it is based on internal company rules that apply to everyone and require all employees to "dress neutrally".

    The judgment was delivered in cases brought by two employees, one in Belgium and one in France, who were dismissed for refusing to remove headscarves.

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  • Social media companies including Twitter, Facebook and Google have come under pressure from MPs for failing to take tougher action to tackle hate speech online.

    During heated exchanges at the Commons home affairs committee one Labour MP went as far as accusing internet company executives of "commercial prostitution" and demanding to know whether they had any shame.

    Yvette Cooper, the chair of the committee, told social media executives that they had "a terrible reputation" among their users for failing to act on reports of hate speech and other offensive material online.

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  • You don’t expect to hear the words of the Qur’an while watching the Oscars, but that’s what happened this year. Raed Al Saleh received an Oscar for his documentary short, The White Helmets, but couldn’t attend the ceremony. He provided a statement that was read and it included part of Surah 5:32, a verse from the Qur’an. The relevant part of the statement was this: "Our organization is guided by a verse in the Qur’an: To save one life is to save all of humanity."

    This wasn’t the first time someone cited that verse. It’s like the John 3:16 of the Qur’an. President Obama, months after being inaugurated in 2009, spoke to the Muslim people from Cairo, Egypt and said, "The Holy Qur'an teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind." People love this passage because they interpret it to mean that Allah prohibits Muslims from killing innocent people. In fact, killing one person is as grievous as killing the whole human race. Conversely, if you save one person, then you are credited with saving all of humanity.

    As we say at Stand to Reason, though, "Never read a Bible verse." Always read the whole paragraph, chapter, or more. Never try to understand the meaning of a passage without considering the context. This should apply to Islamic texts as well. Never read a Qur’anic verse. In the case of Surah 5:32, the context is critical. 

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  • A father who describes himself as "Anglo-Saxon" has lost a legal battle to prevent his Muslim ex-wife from sending their 10-year-old son to an Islamic secondary school.

    The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was determined to prevent his son from attending a "school inside a mosque" on the grounds that he would be "marginalised" by his son if he enrolled at the London-based school next year.

    Appealing to the High Court to intervene, the father, who is a marketing director and a self-proclaimed atheist, insists his son should attend a secular school.

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  • On 14 March 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) upheld the banning of religious symbols in the workplace. As a future consequence, European companies may introduce certain rules to prohibit other religious symbols such as the Christian cross.

    "Nobody should be forced to choose between their religion and their profession. A Court claiming to be a champion of human rights should safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of conscience, religion, and belief rather than undermining it. Citizen’s deeply held convictions should be reasonably accommodated by their employers," said Adina Portaru, Legal Counsel for ADF International in Brussels, who wrote a legal analysis of the ruling.

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  • A new report on free speech in British universities makes clear to everyone what was already clear to many within them: free expression in many places is threatened and in many others actively curtailed.

    Of 115 institutions, 73 "ban and actively censor ideas on campus"; 35 "chill free speech through intervention". Students' unions have banned "offensive" fancy dress (Edinburgh) and Charlie Hebdo (Manchester); university authorities have banned many forms of speech, including criticism of Israel "that might reasonably be taken to be anti-semitic" (Leeds); numerous universities or unions have also banned or tried to prevent the expression of "fascist" or "racist" ideologies or of any views by speakers belonging to some objectionable category.

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