Relgion news headlines from around the world

Published: Saturday, April 14 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Religion news briefs from around the world that have made headlines.

Tunisia marks 10th anniversary of bloody synagogue bombing

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia's president reassured his nation's Jews of their place in society in a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of an al-Qaida truck bomb at a synagogue on the island of Djerba that killed 21 people.

President Moncef Marzouki flew to the island accompanied by Tunisia's grand rabbi, Haim Bitan, to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence to remember the victims of the truck bombing, which included 14 German and two French tourists. The ambassadors of France and Germany attended, along with the families of the victims.

"All forms of discrimination against Jews, assaults on their lives, possessions or religion are forbidden," he said in a speech inside the synagogue, as he unveiled a plaque. "Tunisian Jews are an integral part of our people and they share all the rights and duties. Whoever violates their rights, attacks all Tunisians."

The speech comes at a time when Tunisia's small, 1,500-strong Jewish community is facing pressure from ultraconservative Muslim groups, after an uprising last year overthrew Tunisia's decades-old secular dictatorship.

At a demonstration of Salafi activists on March 25 calling for the implementation of Islamic law, a Muslim religious leader chanted slogans to "prepare for the fight against the Jews," prompting the leader of the Jewish community, Roger Bismuth, to file a lawsuit against him

—Associated Press

Abuse scandal continues to take its toll on Catholic church in U.s.

NEW YORK — Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders received nearly 600 credible clergy sex abuse claims last year. All but a few of the allegations involve wrongdoing from decades ago that are only being reported now.

The findings are part of an annual child safety report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Auditors check compliance with the discipline plan bishops adopted in 2002 at the height of the abuse scandal.

Church officials say they paid more than $144 million in settlements and related costs last year, a slight drop from 2010. Another $33 million was spent on background checks and other child protection measures.

Auditors say improvements are needed in how dioceses monitor accused priests. The auditors also warn about complacency after a decade of intense scandal. Victims' advocate David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the report is not a true audit. Clohessy says it's "a glorified self-survey, frankly, by the same men who have caused and continue to cause the abuse and cover-up crisis."

—Associated Press

Arkansas appeals court To consider $66M judgment against Tony Alamo

TEXARKANA, Ark. — A federal appeals court has agreed to consider a $66 million civil judgment that a jury awarded to two men who say they were abused as children growing up in evangelist Tony Alamo's ministry.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that the oral arguments will likely be heard this summer by a federal appeals court in St. Louis. Alamo is appealing the $66 million in damages that a jury awarded to the plaintiffs, Spencer Ondrisek and Seth Calagna. The two were raised in the Alamo's ministry and a jury agreed that they'd suffered physical abuse and were deprived of an education.

Alamo is currently serving a 175-year federal prison sentence. He was convicted in July 2009 of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

—Associated Press

Convicted U.S. priest remained a member of the clergy for years

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