Updates on Baha’is in Iran

Australian Bahai Community Bahá’ís are not free to practice their religion without harassment. Arbitrary detentions and interrogations are continually carried out against adherents of the Bahá’í Faith throughout the country, and the charges they are accused of reflect the absence of freedom of religion or belief for Bahá’ís in Iran. Currently, more than a thousand Bahá’ís are awaiting their legal hearings on spurious charges or waiting to be summoned and placed into overcrowded prisons; their state of limbo presenting another form of psychological torture.

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Religion and Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligenceThe widespread use of AI systems raises a number of concerns. Existing AI technologies exhibit several features that pose serious threats to the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals and groups – including religious or belief citizens and communities. Such features include the opacity, unpredictability, bias and partially autonomous behaviours of AI systems. Here, the author of this report discusses issues in a video with Relgion and Diplomacy editor Judd Birdsall.

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World Council of Churches: Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace Publications

World Council of Churches logo

The World Council of Churches and Globethics.net have co-published four new books on different facets of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. Harvesting the insights from the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace process and visits from the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, this series focuses on a number of geographic and thematic areas.

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Religion, Peace and the Moral Issues of Fully Autonomous Weapons

Australian QuakersAustralian Quakers – in collaboration with Safe Ground, Religions for Peace Australia, United Religions Initiative, Pax Christi, the Multifaith Assocation of South Australia and the Canberra Interfaith Forum – will host an event on 22 September 2022 (in person and online) presenting the Australian Interfaith Response to the use of autonomous weapons – otherwise known as Killer Robots.

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Current situation of the Bahá’í community in Iran

Australian Bahai CommunityThe Iranian government considers the Baha’i faith a “deviant sect of Islam” and has targeted the community for decades. Earlier this year, Iran’s courts sentenced Baha’is on spurious national security charges, forcing eight Baha’is to attend “counseling sessions” in prison to pressure them to convert. The Ministry of Intelligence has accused Baha’is of “infiltrating educational environments,” and Iran’s government engages in systematic misinformation campaigns against the Baha’i community.

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Christian Conference of Asia trains Asian youth leaders as Young Ambassadors of Peace

Youth as Catalysts for Peace with Justice in Asia
A week long training programme, Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia, organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), was held from 7-14 August at in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The focus was “Youth as Catalysts for Peace with Justice in Asia.”Christian Conference of Asia trains Asian youth leaders as Young Ambassadors of Peace

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Interfaith Matters August 2022: 1001 Persian Tales

Connecting Conversations across culture, creed & tradition Connecting Culture Matters (sponsored in part by the City of Adelaide) presents the Interfaith Matters forum for August 2022 on Thursday, 25 August 2022 at Ayla’s Cafe, 13 Bent St, Adelaide (City) commencing 5:45pm. The theme will focus on 1001 Persian tales.

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South Australia: Noah’s Pudding – Building the Future Together

Noah's Pudding - Building the Future Together

An Abrahamic Faiths Panel & Noah’s Pudding (Ashure) will be celebrated at St Peter’s Cathedral on Saturday, 27 August, at 2:30pm. This program is organised in the spirit of sharing common values that unite Australians from all cultural and faith backgrounds.

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Online Global Prayer for Myanmar

Pax Christi LogoIn the light of the recent executions of four activists by the Myanmar military government – and the recent jailing of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to six years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty in four corruption cases – Pax Christi Australia will conduct an online Global Prayer for Myanmar on Sunday 21st August at 5.30 pm (AEST).

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Quakers Australia – Integrity in Public Office

Australian QuakersOn Thursday 4 August, in pouring rain, a group of Quakers held a short action “Show Integrity in Public Office” at Parliament House in Canberra. The purpose was, and is, to support the new federal government to establish a strong Integrity Commission.

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Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce

Local church communities anywhere in Australia can now sponsor and welcome a refugee family from overseas. Finally, everyday Australians can help refugees in a practical, meaningful and satisfying way, through a new national ‘community sponsorship’ program. Based on the popular 40-year-old Canadian model, locals form a group to welcome and support a refugee household through this federal government-backed program.

They meet the new arrivals at the airport and help them settle into their new home and community. Ongoing support might include help with navigating Centrelink, driving lessons or or introducing them to a local business that you know is looking for staff.

Church congregations and faith groups have long been at the forefront of welcoming refugees to Australia. Now your congregation can take the next step and welcome refugees referred by the UNHCR into their hearts and lives.

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NSW: Public Display of Nazi Symbols Banned

Nazi symbol banned in NSW

A new law has passed in Parliament making it a criminal offence to knowingly display a Nazi symbol in public without reasonable excuse. The new offence, Crimes Amendment (Prohibition on Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2022, falls under the Crimes Act 1900.

The NSW government’s decision to criminalise the use of Nazi symbols echoes the Victorian government’s decision made at the end of June.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment or an $11,000 fine, or both, for an individual. It carries a fine of $55,000 for a corporation.

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