Cardinal George Pell will not seek reduced sentence if court upholds conviction

Pell is returning to court to fight his sexual abuse conviction but will not appeal his six-year prison term Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will not seek a reduced sentence if the court of appeal upholds his conviction for sexually abusing two Melbourne choirboys in the 1990s. Pell has been behind bars since February and is due to return to court next month to fight his conviction. But he will not be adding an appeal against the six-year prison sentence handed down by the county court chief judge, Peter Kidd, in March. Pell was filed an application for appeal in February against Pells conviction, arguing it should be overturned on three grounds. AAP has confirmed there will be no appeal against …

Revealed: new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang

Guardian and Bellingcat investigation finds more than two dozen Islamic religious sites partly or completely demolished since 2016 Around this time of the year, the edge of the Taklamakan desert in far western China should be overflowing with people. For decades, every spring thousands of Uighur Muslims would converge on the Imam Asim shrine, a group of buildings and fences surrounding a small mud tomb believed to contain the remains of a holy warrior from the eighth century. Pilgrims from across the Hotan oasis would come seeking healing, fertility, and absolution, trekking through the sand in the footsteps of those ahead of them. It was one of the largest shrine festivals in the region. People left offerings and tied pieces …

‘Mawanella was the start’: Sri Lankan town reels from bombing links

Faith leaders say local youths were radicalised by extremist preacher Mohammed Zahran Hashim It was crude stuff: young men armed with hammers, arriving on motorbikes in the middle of the night. At four sites in Mawanella, a central Sri Lankan town, they hacked at Buddhist statues, lopping off parts of their faces and hands. In the aftermath of the desecration on 26 December 2018, police and local politicians were more concerned with defusing the anger of the Buddhist community and preventing religious riots of the kind that had rocked killed 253 people on Sunday, Mawanella was the start. One of the statues damaged in Mawanella in December 2018. Photograph: Supplied Chanaka Jayaree, a caretaker at one of the Buddhist shrines, …