Category: UK

Double-life murder victim claimed to be ‘unbeatable’ faith healer

The victim of a violent murder in Luton last month has been identified as a faith healer who promised clients he could solve all their problems in a week. Police are looking for former patients who might have been dissatisfied with the treatments of a man they say lived a double life. Bedfordshire police took the unusual step of naming the victim yesterday as Alfusaine Jabbi, also known as Abdula and Mohammed Ali, 22, from Gambia, although he has yet to be formally identified. He had been in Britain since 2003 and had made his living as a spiritual healer

Body parts exhibition raises concerns over missing dissidents

Demonstrators are expected to hold a vigil today at the opening of the latest human body parts exhibition in London because of concern over the origins of the human remains from China. Human rights groups fear that some of the remains may be those of dissidents or political prisoners executed by the Chinese authorities. Bodies – the Exhibition opens today at Earl’s Court showing 22 corpses and 250 organs and other body parts. Gunther von Hagens, a German, pioneered the phenomenon five years ago. Premier Exhibitions, an American company, says it obtained the bodies from the Dalian Medical University of

British Church leaders in Jerry Springer row

A city vicar has defended the Theatre Royal Norwich’s controversial decision to stage a production of Jerry Springer The Opera, but other church leaders have blasted the decision. The West End show, which has sparked outrage among some people in the Christian community in the UK, is on national tour and will be at Norwich’s Theatre Royal from Monday, May 8 to Saturday, May 13. The show has been criticised because it depicts Jesus, Mary and God as guests of Jerry Springer’s talk show with one scene featuring Jesus in a nappy. Christian pressure group Christian Voice has been following

Indian tribe sends a missionary to tackle spiritual void in Wales

Indian tribes who were converted to Christianity by missionaries from Wales are now returning to evangelise the Welsh because they believe that the country is in a state of religious decline. The Diocese of Mizoram, in the north-east of India, has already sent one missionary to south Wales. It is planning to send a second in April, to help the Welsh Presbyterian Church with its shortage of ministers. The Rev Hmar Sangkhuma, who runs yoga classes for the elderly and works as a “mission enabler” in Maesteg, near Bridgend, said that many people in Wales were suffering from a “spiritual

Chancellor supports evangelist’s best-seller that criticises war in Iraq

Gordon Brown has given his personal endorsement to a book by an American evangelist that attacks the “unjust” war in Iraq. The Chancellor backed the invasion, but his support for the latest work by Jim Wallis, a progressive Baptist preacher, will fuel speculation that Mr Brown may have had personal reservations. In a glowing foreword to God’s Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, Mr Brown says the pastor “challenges us to create a society that both addresses injustice and stresses personal responsibility”. He adds: “His call for a global covenant through which

Race hate crimes and attacks on Muslims soar

Race hate crime soared by nearly a third last year, according to figures released today. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecuted 4,660 defendants for racially-aggravated offences in England and Wales in 2004/05, up 29.7 per cent from the previous year. The number of religiously-aggravated cases dropped to 34 from 49 the year before, but in 67 per cent of these cases the victim was Muslim. Most of the reported racist incidents were assaults, criminal damage or public order offences, but there were also four murders. Despite measures to boost victims’ confidence in the justice system there was a five per

Church’s new commandment: Enjoy good sex on Sundays

LONDON: Sunday should not only be a day of rest but it should also be a day of sex, the Church of England has recommended. As part of life balance, a course due to be published next week, the established church also urged worshippers to meditate on the day of the rest. The book’s five-session course for lent on work, rest and play is an attempt to re-examine the bible‘s teaching on the Sabbath. Although keeping the Sabbath holy is one of the Ten Commandments, its place as a day of rest has been eroded. The course, by the Reverend

Watchdog tells church it can keep advertising its belief in miracles

Religion recorded a rare victory over science yesterday when a church was allowed to retain a poster offering the prospect of miracles. Critics complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the poster, which pictured a man with a microphone hugging a child beneath the words “Miracles, Healing, Faith”, was misleading and irresponsible. They said that the Penial Pentecostal Church in Brentwood, Essex, was claiming an ability to cure medical conditions but could offer no scientific proof, and the poster “preyed on the credulity of vulnerable people”. But the church, run by Michael Reid, a former Metropolitan Police officer turned insurance

Jerry Springer opera tour goes on despite prosecution threat

Theatres across Britain have united in defiance against a threat of prosecution from an evangelical Christian group to save the national tour of the controversial musical Jerry Springer the Opera. Christian Voice, which organised street vigils on the evening of the BBC broadcast of the opera in January, successfully petitioned to have Arts Council funding of the regional tour axed after damning the show as “blasphemous”. It sent letters to theatres up and down the country which said: “We are at this moment preparing charges of the criminal offence of blasphemy for service upon those responsible for broadcasting the show

Joke is on religion as Christians laugh at themselves

Religious jokes will be told to hundreds of Christians today in an attempt to determine whether they would fall foul of the Government’s religious hatred legislation. In “The Laugh Judgment” competition, more than 4,000 people voted on 700 religious jokes sent in to the satirical Christian website ShipofFools. The ten funniest and ten most offensive will be performed today at the Greenbelt Christian arts festival at Cheltenham racecourse by the comic James Carey, a scriptwriter for radio comedy shows. Some of the jokes were so offensive that they do not bear reproduction. One of the worst, a masturbation joke about