Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Chick-fil-A Confirms 'Record-Setting Day' on Appreciation Day
- Egypt: Christian Homes, Businesses Destroyed in Sectarian Violence
- Saudi Arabia Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Practicing Their Faith
- Uzbekistan: Christian Charged for Teaching Religion
Chick-fil-A Confirms 'Record-Setting Day' on Appreciation Day
Chick-fil-A announced Thursday that supporters who flocked to the restaurant for "Appreciation Day" on August 1 propelled the company to a "record-setting day," Fox News reports. "We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country," the company said in a statement. "We congratulate local Chick-fil-A owner/operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality. While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day." Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and Fox News host who initially made the call for patrons to show up for "Appreciation Day" after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy came under fire for supporting traditional marriage, said the turnout went beyond anything he could have imagined. "A lot of the stores ran out of chicken before the end of the day," he said, adding: "I don't think the chickens were too happy about the day. They really gave their lives in mass numbers."
Egypt: Christian Homes, Businesses Destroyed in Sectarian Violence
Christian homes and businesses were looted August 1 in violence that broke out following the death of a Muslim man in the Egyptian village of Dahshur, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The incident began on July 27 when a Coptic launderer, Sameh Samy, burned the shirt of a Muslim client, Ahmad Ramadan. It is claimed that despite both men agreeing to settle the grievance that evening, Ramadan returned in the afternoon with a 3,000-member armed mob, which surrounded Samy's house and business. As fighting raged, Samy eventually hurled a Molotov cocktail from the roof of his house, which hit a Muslim passerby named Moaz, who was taken to the hospital with third-degree burns, from which he later died. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, 120 Christian families fled the village following threats by clerics and the victim's family to exact revenge. Police later arrested and detained Samy, his father and his brother, and charged them with murder and possession of explosives. Despite five arrest warrants being issued for five Muslims involved in the attack, they remain at large.
Saudi Arabia Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Practicing Their Faith
On August 1, Saudi Arabia deported the last of 35 Ethiopian Christians arrested and detained for holding an all-night prayer vigil at a private home on December 15, 2011, International Christian Concern reports. Saudi officials originally accused them of "mixing with opposite gender," but when pressured by U.S. officials, they started giving other reasons for the detention, including being in the country illegally and engaging in drug and human trafficking. Saudi security officials assaulted, harassed and pressured the Christians to convert to Islam during their incarceration, but finally released them after international efforts, petitions and protests led by ICC. "We have arrived home safe [and] we believe that we are released as the result of the pressure exerted by ICC and others," one of the prisoners said. "The Saudi officials don't tolerate any other religions other than Islam. They consider non-Muslims as unbelievers. They are full of hatred towards non-Muslims." Jonathan Racho of ICC said: "Saudi Arabian officials clearly demonstrated their utter disregard for religious freedom by arresting, mistreating and deporting the Christians for holding a prayer meeting. The Saudis deceive the international community by pretending to promote tolerance among followers of different religious beliefs; however, in reality they don't tolerate any other religion besides Wahhabi Islam."
Uzbekistan: Christian Charged for Teaching Religion
A Christian from Fergana, Uzbekistan, faces up to three years in prison on a charge of illegally teaching religion, Voice of the Martyrs reports. Yelena Kim was accused of violating the procedure for teaching religious doctrine after police and government officials raided her house church during an April 29 worship service. Although Yelena was in a different city at the time of the raid, she owns the home where the church meets for services. In a subsequent raid on her home, authorities seized printed materials, music, a photocopier and Bibles. Officials also filed complaints against her husband, Eduard Kim, and church member Losif Skaev -- who will both be called as witnesses against Yelena during her trial. When a judge asked Eduard who led the church and who taught the faith to its members, Eduard replied, "The leader is Jesus Christ and all the church members testify to others about God." Yelena Kim has been fined for similar charges in the past.
Publication date: August 6, 2012