Turkey’s President makes Hagia Sophia a mosque

Hagia SophiaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formally reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum.

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Lockdown: St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Gardiner, Melbourne

St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Gardiner, MelbourneIn Australia, religious communities were one part of society expressly impacted by the ‘lockdown’ directives introduced to stem the spread of the virus. On 29 March all places of religious worship were effectively closed by the restrictions that limited non-essential indoor gatherings to two people. In Victoria, lockdown came again on 9th of July, with border closures. Here, we look to faith community experiences in time of lockdown. On this page, we look to the experience of the members of the Christian community at St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Gardiner, Melbourne, Australia.

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Buddhist Life Stories, Australia

Australian Buddhist Life StoriesBuddhism is Australia’s second largest religion, and has a long history dating back to at least the 1850s Gold Rush period, yet the life stories of prominent Buddhists in Australia have remained largely undocumented until now. A new initiative, Buddhist Life Stories, records the personal narratives of contemporary Australian Buddhists.

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Tasmania – July 2020

Tasmania Logo

Greetings of Peace! We hope everyone is moving through the winter with a level of wellness, warmth and well-being.

We know that, while we are doing well with respect to COVID-19 at the moment in Tasmania, people in other places are not so lucky and many of us will have connections with those in other places who are sick or anxious. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and with them.

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Lockdown and Mental Health: Meditation and The Sanctuary Experience

Mental HealthIn times of lockdown – and hard lockdown, mental health is most important for those living in lockdown – especially hard lockdown. The Brahma Kumaris commumity of Australia has produced a series of meditations which may be of help in bringing peoples to inner stillness. We take a look at The Sanctuary Experience and how it can help people in lockdown.

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New Zealand Mosque Shooter To Be Sentenced On 24 August

Brenton TarrantWELLINGTON: An Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in last year’s New Zealand mosque shootings will be sentenced next month after delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, court documents revealed on Friday (Jul 3).

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Covid-19 Racism is not acceptable

Covid-19 Racism is not acceptable

The Australian Government is currently running an information campaign to support and inform multicultural communities in response to an increase in reports of racist behaviour targeting people of Asian appearance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the campaign we are reaching out to the most affected communities through community leaders such as you.

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Self-Care Is Not Selfish: 7 Jewish Reminders for Caring for Yourself

lotus flower

A tale is told of a well-known 17th-century Chasidic rabbi named Zusya, who, when he died, went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done.

He began to imagine that God was going to ask him, “Why weren’t you more like Moses, a great leader?” Or, “Why were you not wiser, like King Solomon, or braver, like King David?” But when he faced the accounting before God of his life, God simply asked him, “Why were you not more like Zusya?”

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Mental Health Video

Mental Health Foundation Australia logo

Mental health carries a stigma. Many are uncomfortable speaking about someone – or themselves – who has mental health issues.

In this time of downturn due the Coronavirus and people losing jobs or their engagement with the community, mental health can be a significant issue of concern.

From the Mental Health Foundation of Australia, we bring Dr David Castle, who is a psychiatrist, talking about the importance of mental health at this time. He is advising the Victorian Government on Mental Health issues.

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Post COVID 19: Social Distancing or Changing People’s Way of Thinking?

social distancing

Information has to be pure, or else output will be impure and ignored. Information about the dire need to follow the injunctions of the health authorities in times of pandemic ought be taken up in all seriousness by religious leaders. Else, one joins the band of loyal and dedicated allies of coronavirus among the religious fanatics spreading disinformation.

Another myth is that everyone can read. Not true, particularly for asylum seekers and refugees, and those who have migrated from war-torn countries where education is the child of a lesser god. Audio / visual messages are a must in this day and age where everyone has a mobile phone and can view/listen to the important health messages given out.

Social distancing and physical distancing are not the same thing. The central component of social culture, people’s way of thinking, should be helped to adopt to changing situations and emergencies with alacrity and full understanding of the need to adapt.

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Freedom of Religion in Australia: a focus on serious harms

Freedom of Religion in Australia: a focus on serious harmsThe Australian Human Rights Commission and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission jointly delivered a position paper on Freedom of Religion in Australia: a focus on serious harms online, on 1 July 2020. The Position Paper concludes with several recommendations as to how governments in Australia can improve protections for the right to freedom of religion in Victoria and Australia.

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Philosophy and Poverty

Book Cover - Dimensions of Poverty“Dimensions of Poverty: Measurement, Epistemic Injustices, Activism” is the fruit of contributions to the 2017 Conference on Dimensions of Poverty in Berlin. The book has just been published by Springer. It spans the multiple dimensions of poverty, in normative and technical debates about their measurement and how this fits in the political project of achieving socio-economic justice of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 1 & Sustainable Development Goal 10 and beyond.

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Victoria: Lockdown Suburbs and Religious Events

Victoria - State GovernmentPlease see below the latest directions from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) detailing the restrictions that apply to those living in these identified areas. Can you please forward this information throughout your various platforms, community contacts and networks who reside in these areas (locations detailed below), drawing particular attention to the restriction relating to Faith: Religious ceremonies and private worship can only occur online.
This advice updated 3 July 2020 – see below

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We’re all in the same boat: stories of adaption and resilience from Australia’s religious communities in the time of COVID-19

 Scanlon Foundation Research InstituteThe Scanlon Foundation Research Institute is building a picture of how religious communities have adapted to having their places of worship closed and the new regulations that will govern their activities once they reopen.

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The N-word of God: Envisioning the image of Christ

Our Lady of Ferguson

(RNS) — In the New Testament’s Letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood” — or race? — “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Could these things that Paul opposes be ideas and systems of human oppression that deny the knowledge of a God of justice and love?

In this time of mass protest and reexamining of America’s racial past and present, I’ve been thinking about art and especially how Christian images can contribute to, or hinder us from, processing our national discourse about social justice and Black Lives Matter.

I am African American. I make Byzantine-influenced icons. Taking a cue from the jargon of Orthodox Christians, I like to call myself an “iconographer.”

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Rejecting hatred and embracing tolerance is the true heart of Islam

Muslim World League logo

Tolerance. It is both a religious and a moral duty, a sacred tenet of Islam. Without tolerance, we would face only endless misunderstanding, disharmony and strife. And at the Muslim World League, it is something we offer unconditional commitment toward.

It is distressing and tragic that today we are mocked and ridiculed by fringe elements among those who claim to be Muslims, merely for honouring our sacred responsibility to respect and reach out to the leaders and adherents of the world’s other noble religions.

But no ridicule can deter us from our obligation. Even as the extremists pursue tactics of hatred and divisiveness, we at the Muslim World League will be guided by the true ideals of moderate Islam, which remain consistent and unchanging says Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa is secretary-general of the Muslim World League.

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