The News You May Have Missed

December 2015

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Crossed Out

Eva Brunne, whom the Church of Sweden made the world’s first openly lesbian bishop in 2009, has proposed that a church in her diocese remove all crosses and put down markings showing the direction to Mecca in order to make Muslim worshipers feel more welcome (, Oct. 5). Calling Muslim guests “angels,” Brunne explained on her official blog that airports and hospitals have multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the Stockholm church would only bring it up to speed. Patrik Pettersson, a priest in Brunne’s diocese, replied on his own blog that there is no way you can equate a consecrated church with a prayer room. “I should have thought a bishop would be able to tell the difference,” he wrote.

Switch Kickers

Eight members of Iran’s national women’s soccer team are actually men who are awaiting sex-change operations, reports The Daily Mail (Oct. 1). Officials have ordered gender-testing of the entire team and the top players in the country’s competitive league. This is not the first time Iran’s national team has been involved in a gender scandal. Last year, four players were found to be men, and in 2010 questions were asked about the team’s goalkeeper. As a result, the Iranian governing body introduced mandatory gender-testing. Those who cannot prove their gender are barred from competing in women’s competitions, but they can be re-admitted after completing “gender reassignment.” Sex-change operations have been legal in Iran since 1979, when the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious ruling giving them the go-ahead.

What Makes #Ahmed Tick?

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old media darling from Texas whose “homemade clock” looked like a bomb and led to his arrest, is moving to Qatar with his family (BBC, Oct. 21). Ahmed, the subject of our New Oxford Note “What If #AhmedIsaFake?” (Nov.), has accepted a full scholarship for his secondary and undergraduate education from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. In the same month that he met President Obama at the White House, Ahmed enjoyed red-carpet treatment from the Sudanese head of state, Omar al-Bashir, a tyrant responsible for directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage that led to the deaths of 400,000 civilians in Darfur, for which he was indicted by the International Criminal Court. If that’s not bad enough, al-Bashir oversaw a civil war in which 2.2 million Sudanese were wiped out by his government. No word from the fawning Western press on Ahmed’s dodgy new pursuits.

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