Religious news April 21, 2022


Prime Minister’s comments on Archbishop of Canterbury are a ‘shameful insult’

A huge row has developed between the Prime Minister and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, England’s two most senior clerics, after they condemned government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Boris Johnson told a private group of MPs that the senior clergy criticized the plans more than they condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Church of England information chief John Bingham said if Johnson’s comments were true it was a “shameful insult” as both archbishops had strongly condemned Russia for the war against Ukraine as an act of great evil. Lambeth Palace said Justin Welby would continue to speak out about politics for moral and ethical reasons. The Reverend Richard Coles said those who questioned the archbishops’ right to criticize the project “need to familiarize themselves with the most basic rudiments of Christianity”.

Bishops condemn Johnson’s refusal to resign after party fine

Over the Easter weekend, the Bishops spoke out against Boris Johnson for his refusal to step down after being found guilty of breaking the Covid Restrictions Act. He said it hadn’t occurred to him that a gathering in the Cabinet Room where he received a birthday cake was against the rules and he apologised. Church hours reports that the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, said: ‘If breaking the laws you have made, and then lying about it, doesn’t require resignation, then what does? Our public life and our discourse are corrupt. Integrity is essential to public life.

Seventeen senior religious leaders attack the Nationalities and Borders Bill

Seventeen senior Christian leaders have written to every MP urging them to vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill, which they say discriminates against asylum seekers and provokes hostility. Signatories to the letter, including Methodist President Reverend Sonia Hicks, called on MPs to support House of Lords amendments to protect family reunification rights, allow asylum seekers to work after waiting six month the outcome of their application, establish a resettlement target and change the proposed two-tier system for asylum seekers, which would criminalize those who arrive without permission. But their pleas were in vain. The bill passed yesterday with just 11 Tory MPs voting against the government.

“We need more religion in politics, not less

David Aaronovitch, writing in The temperature today finds the intervention of the clergy in politics refreshing. He says we need more religion, not less. He says moral seriousness has been out of fashion for some time. The questions once asked about whether something was morally right were replaced by how the policy would be accepted by voters. He says: “The re-entry at last of moral debate into the realms of politics and government in Britain would be to find water in a desert.”

Mariupol mothers write to Pope asking for help to get out

Vatican News reports that a women’s group from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol has sent a letter to the Pope calling for help to evacuate injured civilians and soldiers. The letter was delivered by a journalist to Cardinal Michael Czerny in Rome. He says the city, once home to 400,000 people, has been reduced to ashes since the February 24 invasion and an unprecedented human catastrophe is unfolding. Up to 1,000 civilians are believed to have taken refuge in the besieged Azovstal steelworks, but transporting food and water is increasingly difficult. A humanitarian corridor was opened yesterday, but few people are reported to have come out.

French presidential candidate wants to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves

A few days before the French presidential election, French President Emmanuel Macron clashed with his far-right rival Marine Le Pen over her view that Muslim women should be denied their right to cover their heads in public. In a televised debate, he said Le Pen was unfit to lead the ethnically diverse nation and that banning the headscarf would spark a ‘civil war’ in the country with Europe’s largest Muslim population western. Voting is Sunday.

Muzmatch loses lawsuit over trade name

Muzmatch, the UK dating app for Muslims, has lost a legal battle over its trading name which could lead to a complete rebranding. He was sued by Match Group, a major US dating app company, who accused him of copying its product. The UK Intellectual Property and Business Court ruled that Muzmatch had infringed Match Group’s trademark, which would have led some consumers to assume that the goods and services on offer were associated with Match. Muzmatch is the largest Muslim dating app in the world, with six million users. The Guardian reports that chief executive Shahzad Younas said he would appeal the judgment but pledged to continue the platform, even if it involved a rebrand.


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