After 27 years, the first complete translation of the Bible into a widely spoken Australian indigenous language has been published. The Kriol language is spoken by approximately 30,000 people.

 The translation of the Bible was a collaborative effort between several religious societies.

The interesting thing is that…there are no sheep in this Bible. The Lord is not your shepherd, but your stockman. The reason for this? Well apparently “Sheep never made it to the Northern Territory,” Peter Carroll, a member of the translation team said.

This transcript reflects both religious and cultural issues. Read more about this here. It’s a radio interview between a journalist and the co-ordinator of the translation team.


Same Sex Couples

Labour has backed a national scheme to legally recognise sane-sex relationships, which would allow same sex couples to register their relationship. They would secure recognition of their relationship in terms of property rights and superannuation benefits.

However, gay marriage, is still, shall we say, a no-no.

Labour has insisted the scheme will not lead to gay marriage, however this issue has generated great debate from “Labour’s Catholic Right.”

Read more on this article here

This once again raises the whole gay rights/ marriage/bible/god issue in society. The bible says its wrong, so its wrong. To quote Stephen Colbert:

“It’s Gods logic, which is written in the bible, every word of which is true and we know every word is true because the bible says that the bible is true and if you remember from earlier in this sentence, every word in the bible is true.”

I love Stephen Colbert, he makes me laugh oh so much, you can watch a clip of him debating all religion here

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald has tried to look “beyond the stereotype” of Australian Muslims. The article focuses on the ‘Virgin Mary Mosque’ and their imam Sheik Isse Musse. Shiek Isse argues the point that Christianity and Islam have several things in common, such as their admiration and respect for the Virgin Mary.

The article also raises the point that terrorism and Middle Eastern conflicts are causing generational change as younger Muslims raised in Australia are questioning older imams and those who can not represent their people adequately.

Also discussed is the ability to be both Muslim and Australian, as some are conflicted about being in a non-Muslim society. Adel Salman, a senior manager in NSW public service, says he doesn’t experience any such conflict.

“When I see someone who’s obviously Muslim in Australia, I’ll say ‘Assalam alaikum’, and when I encounter another Aussie overseas, I’ll say ‘G’day’,” he said. “I don’t have any conflict within myself about being a practising Muslim and happy to talk to anyone about it, and the fact that I am Australian as well.”

This feature artcile has tried to change the news coverage of Muslims. A positive article has attempted to be written, however it comes across a bit condescending. The article has tried to show that Australian muslim aren’t so different, yet they continue to single them out and talk about them. Saying that, this is the only story I have read in a long time that places Muslims in a positive light and discusses how their relgion relates to their everyday life. News values of currency and proximity are covered here, as the story relates to Australian Muslims.

You can read more about this here

The Wall

A 5 km wall is being built to separate the Sunnis from their Shiite neighbours, with the intention of protection for both sides. U.S forces believe erecting the wall will make it harder for suicide bombers, death squads and militia fighters to attack each other.

However Sunnis and Shiites both oppose the construction of the wall, believing it will further their problems. The Iraqi President has also criticised the building of the wall, ordering construction to cease.

 You can read more on this here… or here

An Italian film, 7 km from Jerusalem, was set for release around Easter. That was until soft-drink giants Coca-Cola forced the film to cancel its premier due to a scene in which Our Lord Jesus Christ consumes the beverage proven to clean coins.

Upon drinking the can of Coke, Jesus thinks “What a testimonial.”

Coca-Cola felt that the use of its brand could give the company a bad image, and wanted this scene pulled from the movie. The director of the film, Claudio Malaponti, said that it would indeed be cut if further talks were unsuccessful.


I think it’s hilarious that Coca-Cola wanted the scene pulled before the whole of the religious community could even complain about it…they live for that stuff.

Burping Bulls

At the start of this year, there was controversy in South Africa, when a politician, Tony Yengeni ritually slaughtered a bull. Animal rights activists were outraged, however the chairman of the Cultural, Religion and Linguistic Rights Commission Mongezi Guma said that human rights came first.

“It is ethnocentric and undermining to hide behind animal rights and deny human beings their rights to uphold and practice their cultures and religions.”

“Our constitution specifies the notion of protection of human beings and their sense of who they are in terms of culture and religion.”

The slaughter of a bull is part of a cleansing ritual one does when one is released from prison. Yengeni spent 4 months in gaol for fraud. In the ritual, the bull is prodded by a spear until it burps. The burping of the bull signifies that the ancestors are accepting the ritual.

“There is a saying in Xhosa that if the bull does not burp during a ritual it must be released, so it is important for the bull to burp before it slaughtered,” Commissioner Nokuzola Mndende said.

The mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille, criticised the actions of Yengeni saying that ‘culture’ was used to also justify discrimination against women. This caused Guma to respond by saying that South Africans’ ignorance of each others’ beliefs and practices, was of major concern.

This article points to the great difference in religious and cultural practices, not only all over the world, but also in the same region. What some may define as wrong, others define as an integral part of their culture.

In other news there was an article in the SMH about a priest who left the priesthood to become …er…a pornographer. The man, Michael Perry, maintains the move still allows him to help people, just in a different sort of way.

-‘Meet the priestly purveyor on porn,’ SMH 21/4/07

Hello all faithful readers of my blog. How’s the weather?

Recently there has been much discussion on whether Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilaly would reprise his role as “mufti of Australia.” Despite both John Howard and Kevin Rudd voicing that he should not be reinstated as cleric, Sheik al-Hilaly was voted back in by the imams and will serve another three months. During this period the imams are going to try and work out what to do with the position.

Howard said:

All I can say is that the failure of the community to do something more decisive about this is damaging the image of Islamic Australians as part of our community”

Rudd said:

“Australia’s Muslim leadership should not be taking any decision that allows someone like Hilaly, who’s defended pack rapists, to remain as mufti of Australia,”

Sheik al-Hilaly has been a very controversial mufti. His statements that likened Australian women to “uncovered meat” did not go over well. It caused a public uproar, as did his statements referring to the right of Muslims to be in Australia, over the “decendents of convicts.” It is such a sensative issue at the moment and the rights of both cultures should be observed.

This news story has the news values of currency, as stories about Muslims are featured predominantly in the news these days. It also has prominence as the Sheik is a very well known, important, yet controversial person.

Article: “Sheik must go, PM says”, The Herald Sun 27/3/07

In other news *turns to camera 2*

A Buddhist temple in Malaysia has been overrun with stinging red ants. The question now being, to kill or not to kill.

Well, being Buddhists, there is no question – it’s not to kill. Buddhists respect all life whether it be human or ….ant. The monks tried vacuuming up the ants and then placing them in a nearby forest, however, this did not work. Surprise, surprise. Now, the monks must try to find another solution to their problem. A solution other than spray, baits, or ant sand…

Article: “Monks shalt not kill”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17/3/07