Fresh Yeshivah sex charge

MELBOURNE'S orthodox Jewish Yeshivah community has been rocked by another alleged child sex abuse scandal with a youth worker arrested on indecency charges.

Former Chabad Youth leader Aron Ezriel Kestecher, 26, of East St Kilda, has been charged with four counts of indecent acts on a child under the age of 16.

Kestecher, known as ''Ezzy'', is also understood to have recently worked as a substitute teacher at Yeshivah College, the East St Kilda boys' school at the centre of a police investigation into paedophilia.

Clergy victims need justice now

To prevent further harm, there must be an independent inquiry into sexual assault and the Catholic Church.

The state government's decision last week to put on hold a public inquiry into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is unconscionable and carries a serious risk of further suicides by victims of clergy sexual assault.

Child abuse and the church: no more excuses

It is now the state's responsibility to hold an inquiry

Muslims: Anglicans more negative

ANGLICANS are far more negative about Muslims than Catholics, according to an important annual survey about social cohesion.

Anglican antipathy rose nearly 10 per cent in the past year, the Scanlon National Cohesion Survey headed by Monash University professor Andrew Markus shows.

Faith and Violence

From the SoFiA Bulletin (Upwey, Vic.)*, October 2011: 6 & 7. *ed. & co-ordinator, Scott McKenzie,

Melbourne atheist and columnist for The Age, Dick Gross, has a useful take on the question of whether faith leads to violence. In his view there are three “malign” factors, any of which can contribute to a tendency to violence.

The first is extreme evangelicalism. The risk here is that the end (i.e. expanding the faith) may be seen in the eyes of the faithful as so imperative and desirable as to justify extreme means.

Factor two is the circumstance in which a faith coincides with “unfortunate socio-political factors” such as ethnic tension, nationalism, war and poverty. I would call this the tribalism factor, and it’s clear to see everywhere from Northern Ireland to Afghanistan.

The third malign factor is a lack of checks and balances and opportunities for debate. This is evident, for instance, in theocracies like Iran.

Parish keeps faith in fight for Father Bob

SOUTH Melbourne is again fighting to keep its beloved priest, Father Bob Maguire, after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne secretly signed a contract with the Capuchin religious order to run the parish from February.

The charismatic Father Maguire, 2011 Victorian of the Year and a noted media personality, yesterday blamed Sydney's Cardinal George Pell, saying his removal was part of the cardinal's battle to enforce his own highly conservative view of Catholicism.

Abuse victims take protest to the grave

FOUR people carrying a coffin is an incongruous sight in a leafy suburban street, but that coffin - bought for $500 yesterday morning - will be inscribed with the name of every state ward who has suffered abuse and died without compensation.

It was the main prop for the score of victims holding a vigil outside the Christian Brothers' Treacy Centre in Parkville who complain that the state, churches and charities are ''as bad as each other'' in abandoning responsibility for lives shattered by abuse as state wards.

If religious zeal inhibits art we are all poorer

Ganesh is this show's hero, but its creators are being painted as villains.

The mark of a good arts festival is its willingness to create controversy. Not that festival directors deliberately set out to antagonise or offend audiences. Indeed, as one Melbourne Festival director once said to me, you can never predict which events might trigger moral outrage.

Some Melbourne Festival shows, of course, seem irredeemably destined for controversy, such as 2003's Belgian production I Am Blood/Je Suis Sang, which featured nudity and copious quantities of fake blood.

Teaching children the real truth about science

''NOT all scientists are good scientists,'' Nobel laureate Harold Kroto says when asked what he thinks about the debate around global warming.

''We don't have a 100 per cent reliable assessment so we can only say - and I would say - that it doesn't look good.''

Professor Kroto ticks off the warning signs on his fingers, listing rising sea levels and temperatures, the shrinking Arctic and melting glaciers.

Hindus want to ban play that has Ganesh reclaim swastika from Germany

A MELBOURNE Festival play involving Hindu deity Lord Ganesh will inflame tensions between India and Australia if it is not withdrawn, according to Council of Indian Australians president Yadu Singh.

Indians saw the play, Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, as part of a campaign of denigration against them by Australians, Dr Singh said yesterday.

It has already hit the headlines in the Times of India.

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