Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Nigeria: Persecution, Elections and Looming Strife
- Compassion, Habitat for Humanity Partner for Typhoon Relief in Philippines
- Collective Voices to Oppose Torture in North Korea
- Indonesian Christian Community Welcomes Verdict but Fears Backlash
Nigeria: Persecution, Elections and Looming Strife
According to ASSIST News Service, Christians have been appallingly persecuted in northern Nigeria recently with churches burned, Christian children kidnapped by Islamists and Christians killed. Compass Direct reports one such incident on 21 March when a teacher at the Government Secondary School of Gandu in the northern state of Gombe, was preparing to supervise an exam. As an anti-cheating procedure, she collected the students' bags before the exam and put them at the front of the classroom. One girl then cried out that because a Christian had handled her bag, the Quran in it had been desecrated. Muslims rushed into the school, stoning the building and the staff, dragging the teacher out and clubbing her to death. Two days later a nearby 500-member church belonging to the Evangelical Church of West Africa was torched. On 14 April Nigerians will elect state governors and on 21 April will return to the polling booths for the presidential election. This will be the first time power will have passed from one elected president to another, but the situation looks ominous.
Compassion, Habitat for Humanity Partner for Typhoon Relief in Philippines
A release from A. Larry Ross Communications states that Compassion International is partnering with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) International to rebuild more than 500 homes and rehabilitate hundreds more damaged in November when Typhoon Durian struck the Philippines, leaving over 1,000 dead. Wind and heavy rains destabilized the slopes of the country’s most active volcano, sending mud and boulders cascading down, crushing people in their path. Nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed, and victims still are living in tents and shelters. “Almost 8,000 of our beneficiaries have had their lives ripped apart by this natural disaster and that’s why it’s of utmost importance that we act,” said Bob Thorp, Compassion Program Manager. The Philippine branches of Compassion and Habitat signed a memorandum of cooperation Feb. 15 to rebuild those homes. Compassion will provide most of the resources, while Habitat will also raise funds.
Collective Voices to Oppose Torture in North Korea
Open Doors USA is providing an opportunity for all people to send a message asking China to stop forcing North Korean refugees back into their homeland, where they are likely to be brutally tortured or publicly executed. Refugees are fleeing to China to escape starvation and the brutality of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s regime. Beijing has continuously refused to comply with the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, to which they are a signatory. By signing a Statement of Concern online, people can make their voices heard, joining in Open Doors’ efforts to ramp up for North Korea Freedom Week, April 22-29 in Washington. As a partner in this year’s North Korea Freedom Week, a goal of Open Doors is to “help bring true freedom to all North Koreans.”
Indonesian Christian Community Welcomes Verdict but Fears Backlash
ASSIST News Service reports that three Islamic militants are now behind bars for beheading three Christian girls in Central Indonesia. The trio were sentenced on March 21 for the Oct. 2005 murders. Hasanuddin was sentenced for 20 years imprisonment for masterminding the attack, and his accomplices, Lilik Purnomo and Irwanto Irano, each received 14 years. That attack was revenge for Christians killing Muslims during the early stages of the sectarian conflict in Central Sulawesi. While Christian leaders in Sulawesi welcome the authorities finally taking action against some of the key figures who have been terrorizing the community, they fear a backlash against the Christian community. They are worried the verdict could impact 12 young Christian men from Poso, Central Sulawesi, who are currently standing trial accused of terrorist activities, and facing a possible death penalty.