WRN News From the Web: Mosque Shelters Students, Atheists Not Church, US Sanctions China over Uighurs, Rohingyas Denied Education, Dublin’s Covert Church, Iran Suppressing Bahá’ís, SMU Minus Methodist?, African Churches Use Scientology

Wisconsin Students Shelter in Mosque During School Attack
About 100 high school students sheltered in a mosque across the street from their Oshkosh West High School in Wisconsin when a student stabbed a police officer and was shot by the officer on Dec. 3. Duaa Ahmad, a high school student at Oshkosh West, was in class when she heard the gunshot and her teacher told students to get away. Duaa ran to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Oshkosh chapter mosque she attends and entered the security code to open the door. Both the officer and the student were treated for non-life-threatening injuries according to CNN.

Church of Atheism Not a Church Says Panel of Judges
A three-judge panel in Ottawa ruled that the Church of Atheism of Central Canada is not a church, saying the corporation fails to meet a set of common-law guidelines for what constitutes a religion. The group’s belief in mainstream science was not convincing, according to panel spokeswoman Justice Marianne Rivoalen. The panel said that belief in a Supreme Being is not a requirement for religious status, citing Buddhism as a bona fide religion with no such belief.

U.S. House Passes China Sanctions over Uighur Treatment

Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio
The U.S. House of Representatives passed S.178 the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019,” a bill calling for targeted sanctions on members of the Chinese government to counter “detention, torture and harassment” of Uighur Muslims in China. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, needs to pass the Senate and be signed by President Trump. China reacted angrily, calling it interference.

Rohingya Children Denied Education in Bangladesh
Study in Bangladesh photo by Human Rights WatchSome 400,000 Rohingya Muslim Children who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in religious conflict with Buddhists, are being denied an education says Human Rights Watch. While they are expected to be repatriated within a few years, refugee children are not allowed to enroll in Bangladeshi schools. While informal primary schools are held for refugee children, authorities have not allowed a formal curriculum.

Ancient “Covert Church” Discovered in Dublin
An ancient Catholic Church, likely hidden during “penal times” when Catholics were persecuted, has been found in Dublin, under a schoolhouse.

Bahá’ís Having a Rough Time in Iran
According to Iran Press Watch, seven Bahá’ís have each been sentenced to 3 years in prison by an appeals court in Iran. According to an earlier article, the charges are unknown. Another Bahá’í, Ali Ahmadi, was just sentenced to 11 years in prison for “propaganda against the state.” There are an estimated three hundred thousand Bahá’ís in the country, and the religion is related to the majority Muslim sect, but Bahá’ís are seen by Muslims as apostates, and the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Consequently, Bahá’ís rights have been systematically violated, cemeteries and tombs have been vandalized and almost 100 Bahá’ís are in prison in Iran. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in a release “USCIRF today condemned the mass arrests of Bahá’ís in Iran amidst national protests against the government. Since November 27, the Iranian government has arrested at least 11 Bahá’ís in Isfahan and Khuzestan, searched their houses, and confiscated personal items … It is appalling that Iran’s government continues to target the Bahá’í community rather than meet the demands of its people,” said USCIRF commissioner Gary Bauer. “Until Iran ends the repression, harassment, and arrest of Baha’is and other religious minorities, the U.S. Treasury Department should continue to sanction officials like Mohammed Golpayegani who are complicit in the systematic persecution of religious communities.”

Methodist Battle over LGBTQ Moves to SMU

SMU's Clements Hall photo by Michael Barera, CC
SMU’s Clements Hall photo by Michael Barera, CC
The United Methodist Church is struggling internally with the question of LGBTQ, and some have predicted the church will split. Southern Methodist University announced it will seek to sever control of the University from the church, and put control under its own Board of Regents. In response, the United Methodist Church sued SMU.

African Interfaith Group Embraces Scientology Tools
Christian pastors on completion of their training on the Tools for Life at Kyalami Castle
Christian pastors on completion of their training
on the Tools for Life at Kyalami Castle
Spiritual leaders from 16 Christian denominations across Gauteng Province, South Africa, convened at Kyalami Castle, the African continental headquarters for the Church of Scientology, for a series of Tools for Life workshops from The Scientology Handbook, a compendium of practical information and skills – including study skills, improving communication, repairing broken relationships, raising children, resolving conflicts, organizing and attaining goals – based on the works of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.