Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Islamists Thrilled as Egypt Elects Muslim Brotherhood President
- Abortion Clinics Offering Sunday Discounts, Countering Church Protests
- War Brings Additional Trials for Syrian Believers
- Appeals Judge in Azerbaijan to Decide Fate of Church
Islamists Thrilled as Egypt Elects Muslim Brotherhood President
Egypt's election commission announced June 24 that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won the country's first presidential election with 51.7 percent of the vote, beating former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, ABC News reports. Tens of thousands had gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to hear the results, which were followed by fireworks, jubilation and shouts of "Allahu akbar!" ["Allah is greatest"] that continued for hours. Brotherhood officials told supporters they would press on with protests to demand that the ruling military council cancel this month's dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament and a decree that gave the generals power to restrict the president. Because the Brotherhood has made well-known its goal to develop an Islamic state dictated by sharia (Islamic law), the result has immediately sparked concerns for Christians and religious minorities. Morsi is reported to have previously declared that he would make all Christians in the country "convert to Islam, pay the jizya [Islamic tax required of non-Muslims] or emigrate."
Abortion Clinics Offering Sunday Discounts, Countering Church Protests
Abortion clinics across the nation have increasingly been offering discounts for their services on Sundays, partly to counter afternoon church protests by pro-life Christians, the Christian Post reports. Examples of such offers include the Orlando Women's Center in Florida, which advertises discounted abortions with the offer: "LIMITED TIME SPECIAL! PRINT THIS PAGE AND BRING IT IN FOR $50 SAVINGS. ONLY ON SUNDAYS!" Michael Martelli, executive director of Maryland Coalition for Life, says it is not uncommon for abortion clinics to offer discounted abortions or for pro-abortion groups to collect money to fund abortions. He said special Sunday discounts were not coincidental. "I don't think there is any coincidence," he said. "Abortion facilities are facing increasing presence from Christians praying during business hours, and are having to change up their business hours to avoid the attention."
War Brings Additional Trials for Syrian Believers
Christians in Syria who share their faith have always faced danger, but the escalating civil war is making evangelistic efforts even more difficult, Voice of the Martyrs reports. Several evangelists who work with VOM have lost family members. "In some cases, people were killed because of their Christian identity," said VOM's program officer for the region. "We are checking into how we can be of assistance to those who have been injured for their faith, including one whose face was mutilated as a warning to other Christians." The war has also displaced many Christians, and as they flee the fighting and leave their houses behind, Muslims and members of the rebel groups take possession of them. One church was closed by the government in recent months, and other churches remain under threat of closure.
Appeals Judge in Azerbaijan to Decide Fate of Church
A Christian congregation in Azerbaijan is waiting pensively to see if a judge will uphold a court order that banned its right to meet and "liquidated" the church, Compass Direct News reports. Judge Tahira Asadova of Baku's Administrative Economic Court on April 25 ordered the Greater Grace Church to be "liquidated" after the State Committee on Work with Religious Organizations (SCWRO) filed suit against it for failing to register. The liquidation rendered all activities of the church illegal. The church appealed the decision on May 24 and is waiting for another ruling, scheduled for July 17, from a judge at the Baku Court of Appeals. "If the court upholds the decision, we will have no right to assemble," said Mechti Suleymanov, an elder at the church. "If we continue to meet, then they will come and start harassing us." The Greater Grace Church registered with the Justice Ministry in 1993 and gave copies of its registration papers to the SCWRO. According to Forum 18 News, the committee never sent the church a request to re-file a registration with the committee. Church leaders also said the committee informed them of the need to register only after a committee-set deadline had already passed.
Publication date: June 26, 2012