Second evangelical Christian minister joins James McConnell row as he compares Islamists to Hitler

A second evangelical minister has publicly condemned Islam, comparing Muslim fundamentalists to Adolf Hitler.

Pastor Paul Burns of Adullam Christian Fellowship Church in Sandy Row, south Belfast, contacted the Belfast Telegraph yesterday to voice support for Pastor James McConnell.

"I understand exactly where he is coming from," he said.

"That is not building up hatred against Muslim people but the teaching of Islam. The Koran teaches that all infidels who do not convert to Islamic teaching, then it is correct to be able to kill all those who oppose the teaching of the Koran.

"When Pastor McConnell is talking about it as a direct teaching of Satan – it is.

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Prisons inspector gives stark warning about problems at HMP Whitemoor

Claims that tensions exist at the maximum security prison, where Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorist offences are held

A stark warning of serious problems ahead at Britain's maximum security prison with the largest proportion of Muslim inmates, has been delivered by the chief inspector of prisons.

Nick Hardwick warms that there are "some very dangerous men", including gang leaders and some Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorist offences in HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire who have been trying to influence or pressurise other prisoners.

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Catholic school’s admissions policy leaves family in “turmoil”

Parents of a child refused a place at a state funded Catholic school have criticised the school over its admissions criteria, and say the school's policy of giving preferential treatment to worshippers has left their lives in turmoil.

Oscar, aged 4, has been denied a place at St Thomas of Canterbury primary school, near Gillingham, because his parents, who live just minutes away from the school gates, don't regularly practice a religion.

The family now say they will be forced to withdraw their other son from the school, which he has attended since the age of 3.

The boy's father, David Patterson, a non-practising Christian, and his wife, of Hindu background, said the anger and stress caused by the school's unfair admissions policy has caused havoc to their family life.

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Code of conduct drawn up for UK madrasas

Under code to be announced next month by Michael Gove, Islamic schools would ensure teachers were vetted by police

A voluntary code of conduct to regulate teaching in madrasas in Britain is due to be announced next month by the education secretary, Michael Gove.

Over the past decade, ministers from all parties have expressed unease at the inability to regulate teaching in the schools, which offer supplementary education outside of mainstream schooling. But they have held back partly due to the amount of regulation that would be required.

The plans have emerged as an Ofsted inquiry continues into claims of an attempt by Islamist extremists to take over as many as 21 schools in Birmingham, a charge that is strongly rejected by many in Birmingham. Gove has appointed Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, to lead a Department for Education inquiry, one of four investigations being carried out.

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Secular Stagnation in the Euro Area

Most discussion about the possibility of secular stagnation has focused on US data, partly because most of the new secular stagnationists are American, partly because the data are easier to work with. But as Izabella Kaminska and James Mackintosh point out, the euro area seems closer to Japanification than the US. So are there structural changes in Europe that arguably will lead to persistently lower demand unless offset by policy?

Indeed there are. Start with demography: a falling rate of growth in the working-age population leads, other things equal, to lower investment as a share of GDP, because there is less need to equip workers with new factories, office buildings, houses, etc. And if we look at working-age population for the US, the euro area (EA), and Japan we see that Europe is now where Japan was around 1998, when I and other Japan worriers started talking in earnest about liquidity traps:

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Pope: I'd baptise Martians if they arrived and asked for it. Catholic leader says 'green men' would be allowed into church

  • Francis told audience at mass that he would baptise 'green men with a long nose and big ears' if they wanted it 
  • Comment came as Pope insisted that everyone deserves to be baptised 
  • Vatican astronomer previously said that aliens have souls 'no matter how many tentacles'

By HUGO GYE


Pope Francis would be willing to baptise Martians if they came to Earth and asked to become Catholics, he said yesterday.

During his daily mass, the leader of the Roman Catholic church said that no one should be denied entry into the church for any reason.

He joked that even if space aliens were 'green men, with a long nose and big ears, like children draw', they deserved to be baptised if they wanted.

'If tomorrow, for example, an expedition of Martians arrives and some of them come to us... and if one of them says, "Me, I want to be baptised!", what would happen?', Francis said, according to AFP.

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Anti-Muslim prejudice – inflamed by Islamists

By Paul Goodman

Much of the fear of Islam is simply prejudice against immigrants.  Dislike of Muslims is in this respect no different from dislike of any other migrant group, be it Jews at the turn of the last century, Poles at the turn of this one, Romanians and Bulgarians now, and lots of other peoples in between.  Racial prejudice is always a despicable trait, especially when it hardens into hatred (though it is not to be confused with opposition to mass immigration, a view that is held by all ethnic groups).  It has inflamed some of the reporting and corrupted some of the coverage of the halal meat controversy.

But there is more to anxiety about Islam among many non-Muslims, in Britain and elsewhere, than aversion to Muslims or objections to immigration.  There is a belief that there is a problem inherent in the religion which Christianity and Judaism, its fellow Abrahamic faiths, don’t share, and which isn’t present in other religions either.  Is it right?  The best answer is that it depends which problem one has in mind.  All religions, Judaism and Christianity including, produce fanatical mutations and terror.  Consider Europe’s own wars of religion.

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From jail to jihad? The threat of prison radicalisation

By Raphael Rowe

Mikaeel Ibrahim (centre) was met at Manchester Prison by Mizanur Rahman (left) and Abdul Muhid (right)

The head of the prison and probation service says there is a small but "significant risk" of Muslim prisoners becoming radicalised. Panorama spoke to one convict who was met by Islamic extremists when he was released from prison.

Michael Coe went into prison as a gangster and left as Mikaeel Ibrahim, a convert to Islam.

In 2006 he had been jailed for eight years after threatening police officers with a shotgun while on parole for a knifepoint carjacking.

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Pope Francis's dance with the devil

For all his modernising, the Catholic church's leader has enlisted a very old enemy in his battle against secularism

 'The devil continues to be as useful for the modern church as he has been in the past, when he bolstered the case for the burning of heretics.' Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

As Mother Teresa lay in a Calcutta hospital the year before she died, her violently disturbed sleep became intolerable, her doctors seemingly unable to help. The problem, the visiting Archbishop of Calcutta suggested, was not a medical matter but something altogether more sinister: this living saint was being attacked by the devil. It was only after an exorcist was called that peace was restored.

That a woman regarded as so holy could have been subject to diabolical visitations was reported with surprise. Yet, if a course for Catholic clergy that took place in Rome last week is anything to go by, exorcism is far from rare. The programme trains about 200 priests a year in the ancient rite. For outsiders, exorcism appears anachronistic, a throwback to the superstitions of the middle ages. What the scale of last week's course shows, however, is that the devil is alive and kicking in Pope Francis's apparently modernising church.

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Halal meat controversy is about unnecessary cruelty to animals and NOT Islamaphobia

Sunday Mirror columnist Carole Malone says that barbarism must not be allowed to hide behind religion whatever the faith

Hidden halal: Pizza Express

There is absolutely no way I want to eat animals that have died slowly and in agony in the name of religion.

Because I don’t respect ANY religion enough to have people or animals suffer for it.

Nor do I want to live in a society that donates millions to save dehydrated donkeys in Africa yet thinks it’s OK to slit the throats of terrified creatures here.

And I didn’t think I did. Until this week when it was revealed that Pizza Express, along with scores of restaurants and most of our ­supermarkets, is selling halal meat, too much of which comes from animals that have their throats cut while fully conscious and are then left to die.

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Church divided over 'a secular Scotland'

A Yes vote for independence will lead to Scotland becoming a secular state, a leading Presybterian minister has warned.

However, the views of the former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland Rev Dr John Ross have been challenged by fellow clergy.

His is one of four papers released by the Free Church on Christianity in post-referendum Scotland, which are due to be considered in its General Assembly in Edinburgh later this month.

The Free Church has said it will not be telling its members how to vote.

But Mr Ross, the Glenurquhart and Fort Augustus minister says in his paper: "The Nationalist White Paper states that in an independent Scotland no change will be made 'to the legal status of any religion or of Scotland's churches'. This is dishonest. The Yes campaign is not just asking us to vote for an independent Scotland but for a secular Scotland. The aim of the SNP is a secular constitution rigorously pluralist that gives every religious tradition equal status. He says "in an independent Scotland, as a matter of public policy, and for the first time since the Reformation, Christianity will be deprived of its status as the national religion."

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