Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- London's Mayor Says Residents Should Join in Ramadan Fasts
- Detained Female Converts Not Forgotten Outside Iran
- Orissa: Six More Sentenced for Attacks on Christians
- Sudanese Archbishop Appeals for International Action to Bring Peace
London's Mayor Says Residents Should Join in Ramadan Fasts
Religion News Service reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson has called on all of London to join Muslims in their religious fast. He encouraged the city's millions of residents to fast for at least a day during the Islamic observance of Ramadan to better understand Islam. Then, says Johnson, Londoners should break their fast by visiting one of the numerous mosques that dot the British capital. Johnson, speaking at the East London Mosque and London Muslim Center, said such an experience could demonstrate a welcoming of Muslims into Britain's mainstream society. "Muslims are challenging the traditional stereotypes and showing that they are, and want to be, a part of the mainstream community," Johnson said. "I urge people... increase your understanding and learning -- even fast for a day -- with your Muslim neighbor and break your fast at a local mosque."
Detained Female Converts Not Forgotten Outside Iran
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Iranian women abroad plan to show their support for two female Christian converts who remain jailed in Iran. Women dressed in white will be gathering outside the Iranian embassy in London this Saturday as part of a prayer vigil to highlight the plight of Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30. The two female Christian converts from Islam who have been held at Evin Prison in Teheran without charge for the last six months. Neither woman has committed a crime under Iranian or international law. At a hearing at Tehran's Revolutionary Court on Sunday, 9 August, both women refused to recant their faith after being ordered to do so. They were subsequently returned to their cells, where their health is now rapidly deteriorating due to the overcrowded conditions and limited facilities.
Orissa: Six More Sentenced for Attacks on Christians
Christian Today reports that another six people have been sentenced for their role in last year's religious violence in Orissa. They were found guilty of setting houses on fire and engaging in unlawful assembly by defying the curfew, according to the Press Trust of India. Including these sentences, just 12 people have been convicted in connection with the violence, which destroyed thousands of homes and forced more 30,000 Christians to run for their lives. Many Christians are still living in camps. Church leaders say the death toll far exceeds the government's official count of 60. Ten thousand people are named in 827 cases registered during the August riots, 345 of which are still under investigation, including one involving the brutal rape of a nun.
Sudanese Archbishop Appeals for International Action to Bring Peace
Christian Post reports that the head of the Episcopal Church in Sudan has appealed to the international community to stop continuing violence. The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, archbishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, highlighted the "well-organized" murder of an Episcopal bishop during a recent prayer service. More than 40 other people have been killed in related violence by "those that are against the peace in South Sudan," Deng said. He believes violence could be stopped if there was a higher military presence in some areas. "Continuing violence such as this is not only a crime against the innocent people killed and injured, it is a crime against the peace of the Sudan and if left unchecked will do great damage to the smooth implementation of the 2005) Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," he said.