Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

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  • Jihadi attacks – November’s 5,000 deaths broken down by country, victim and terror group: Islamic State and Boko Haram behind most deaths, suggesting jihadism is moving from terrorism to more conventional fighting forces that try to gain or hold territory, report finds.

    The report was published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), in coöperation with the BBC. [Download the full report]

  • The barbarians claiming to represent the ‘Islamic State’ are trying to sell the body of U.S. hostage James Foley for $1 million.
  • Swastika wrapping paper?

    Raelians and Swastika wrapping paper

    Walgreens recalled wrapping paper containing a subtle swastika pattern. But the Raelian Movement — a UFO cult which teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials called Elohim — says the Swastika is an ancient symbol of peace.

    The cult wants Wallgreens to re-stock the paper.

  • Suspected cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan who, who allegedly held three women at a house in Brixton, UK, for more than 30 years is facing 25 charges, including rape.

    It was alleged that a 69-year-old woman from Malaysia, a 57-year-old from Ireland and a 30-year-old Briton had been forced into domestic servitude by the couple after joining their extreme left wing cult.

    At the time of the arrests the police said the group would have appeared to the outside world to be a normal family, but detectives moved in after one of the women decided to report her ordeal to a charity that helps people in slavery.
    Telegraph

  • Here’s an Internet Movie Database listing that really scares the folks running the destructive Scientology cult:

    "Going Clear" Anti-Scientology movie listing at the Internet Movie Database

    “Going Clear” is an Alex Gibney-directed film based on Lawrence Wright‘s ‘Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.’


    The documentary, which profiles eight former members of the ‘Church’ of Scientology, is expected to air on HBO some time in 2015. And they’re ready for the notoriously vindictive and litigious ‘church’:

    HBO is expecting such a blowback from the Church that they have already hired a large legal team in anticipation. “We have probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film],” says HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told the Hollywood Reporter.
    – Rolling Stone

    Note that the film will actually play at the Sundance Film Festival before it is broadcast by HBO.

    By the way, here’s what ‘going clear’ means in Scientology-speak. Yes, it’s pseudoscientific, spiritual quackery.

  • The owner and two managers of a New Zealand bar are due to appear in a Burma court today after they were arrested for allegedly insulting religion by using an image of the Buddha wearing headphones in a promotion, police said.

    The promotional poster, which appeared on the bar’s Facebook page, sparked outrage on social media in the predominantly Buddhist nation, which has seen a surge in religious nationalism in recent months. […]

    The incident comes as the country grapples with a growing Buddhist nationalist movement spearheaded by extremist monks, who have urged boycotts of Muslim shops and proposed a raft of deeply controversial laws to restrict religious freedom.
    The Guardian

    The picture was soon removed and replaced with an apology.

    Religious images are often used to try and sell worldly goods — a practice that usually leads to complaints.

    For instance, French shoes with an image of Lord Rama have annoyed UK Hindus, Chinese jeans bearing the name of Allah angered Iranians (primarily due to where the phrase was located) and Buddhists in Thailand were not pleased by a Victoria’s Secret bikini featuring images of Buddha.

We may add items to this roundup throughout the day.

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This post was last updated: Dec. 11, 2014