Monday, 11 March 2013

Jewish leaders meet Obama

Also in this week's news roundup, threats to the Hindu community in Bangladesh and the global atheist church.

Barack Obama with Benjamin Netanyahu, 2009
by A. Tayyaba

Barack Obama meets Jewish Friends 
In a private White House Meeting with Jewish Leaders which lasted over an hour, President Obama has been urged to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. More than a dozen Israeli advocacy groups attended the meeting and discussed the regional instability and threats facing the country. The meeting comes ahead of the Obama's first visit as president to Israel. The visit will also include time in occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan.

Severe Risk to Hindu Community in Bangladesh
An urgent appeal has been made by Amnesty International as Bangladesh’s 8% minority Hindu population continues to face severe persecution. Most recently on March the 6th, a Hindu Temple in Commilla was vandalised and burnt down. An Amnesty Researcher has been reported to have said, "The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need." All political parties have been urged to condemn the persecution.

Atheist Church Goes Global
An atheist church, named The Sunday Assembly, is set to go global after recieving more than 200 international enquiries for advice only weeks after it launched. takes place in a former The North London church includes a mix of music, discussions on moral issues and speeches. The church is the brainchild of comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones and atheists around the world are demanding similar local set ups. The religion for atheists may come as a surprise to traditional religious groups.

Witchcraft against Albinos in Tanzania
Albinos, people born without a particular pigment in their skin, are again facing dismemberment and death due to witchcraft practices in Tanzania. Some witchcraft practitioners believe that Albino body parts can be used to make charms, potions and curses. The recent upsurge in such incidents have been strongly condemned by UN Human Rights officials.

Parent's divorce effects life choices of religious children
A study has found that the children of two religious parents who divorce are more likely to change religion or stay away from organised religion as adults. The findings published in the Journal for Scientific Study of Religion suggest that the influence of two parents with regards religion is stronger than one or that the faith of the child is shaken when parents’ divorce as in some religions, marriages are believed to be ordained by God.

The Vatican Makes Digital Progression
More than 40 million pages of Vatican records are soon to be preserved online. One of the oldest manuscripts of the Greek Bible called 'The Code B' believed to have been written in the 4th Century will also be going online. The Sifra, one of the oldest Hebrew codes and Greek testimonies of the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates, will all be available. The works are all stored in the Vatican Library, which some believe holds many secrets. Michael Liberato, President of the company charged with the project has said, "The Apostolic Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world and we have a duty to ensure that the knowledge and beauty of the manuscripts in it are available to all in the future".

Sephardic Jews invited back to Spain 
Descendents of Sephardic Jews, who were forced to flee Spain during the Spanish inquisition of the 15th Century when some 300,000 Jews lived in Spain, are being invited back to Spain. Current numbers of the Jewish community are between 40,000-50,000, but numbers may swell now that the Spanish Justice Minister has offered fast track Spanish passports and citizenship to the community. Around 90% of the Jewish community living in Turkey are Sephardic Jews. @TayyabaNoor02

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