Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 19, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 19, 2007

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
 
In today's edition:

  • Muslims Forcing Christian Assyrians in Baghdad to Pay 'Protection Tax'
  • Ministry Representatives Fast, Pray for Compassion Sunday this Weekend
  • Baghdad Christians Flee Forced Conversion in Iraq
  • Southern Baptists Planning Massive Evangelism Blitz for San Antonio

Muslims Forcing Christian Assyrians in Baghdad to Pay 'Protection Tax'

ASSIST News Service reports that evidence has emerged that Muslims are forcing the Christian Assyrians in Baghdad to pay the jizya - the 'Protection Tax' - demanded from Christians and Jews by Islamic law. The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), has obtained testimony from two residents of Dora and an observer in Iraq about the required payment of the tax. An observer in Baghdad told AINA that elements of Al-Qaeda have moved into Dora from Anbar. "No security forces are to be seen there, it seems to be abandoned by both Iraqi and Coalition." The observer said that in Hay Al-Mechaneek (which is in Dora across the bridge) people have been warned by these insurgents to uninstall the satellite dishes "since this is 'Haram' (forbidden) in Islam. "In Dora where Christians live... is where they are telling people to convert, leave, (and) pay 'Jizya' taxation."

Ministry Representatives Fast, Pray for Compassion Sunday this Weekend

According to a release from A. Larry Ross Communications, representatives of Compassion International around the world – employees, child advocates and children - will hold a day of prayer and fasting Friday in preparation for Compassion Sunday this weekend. Last year, Compassion Sunday resulted in more than 20,700 new child sponsorships, with a goal of 20,000 this year. More than 2,800 churches in the United States participated in 2006. Churches in the United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland also are involved in finding sponsors for children through Compassion Sunday. Every three seconds a child under five dies from poverty-related causes. Compassion has pioneered a unique sponsorship program to help meet this need one child at a time. It costs only $32 a month to sponsor a child and provide him or her with opportunities in education, health care, nutrition and life skills, as well as an opportunity to learn about Jesus. Taking this message to the Church is the emphasis of Compassion Sunday.

Baghdad Christians Flee Forced Conversion in Iraq

Iraqi Christians fled their homes over the weekend after armed Sunni extremists threatened to kill them if they did not convert to Islam within 24 hours, Christian sources said. Six Christian families from the Mualimien neighborhood of Baghdad’s Dora district have relocated to a church elsewhere in the city, said a Baghdad source who requested that the families’ location and identity remain anonymous. Armed Sunnis told the families on Saturday (April 14) that an amir (independent Muslim prince or ruler) had issued a fatwa against Dora’s Christians, the source said. “They called the Christians infidels and told them, ‘If you don’t convert to Islam or leave your homes in 24 hours, we will kill you,’” the source told Compass Direct News after speaking with a member of the church helping the displaced Christians.

Southern Baptists Planning Massive Evangelism Blitz for San Antonio

Volunteers are organizing a massive evangelism effort to coincide with the upcoming meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio, OneNewsNow.com reports. On the Saturday and Sunday prior to the June 12-13 gathering, an event called "Crossover San Antonio" will take place. Don Smith, national coordinator for Crossover, says the initiative includes: "block parties, door-to-door witnessing... inner-city evangelism teams that go into the hardcore areas of the city and do street evangelism." Crossover teams will also be practicing random acts of kindness. "The purpose of the event is to get the gospel out of the sanctuary and into the streets," Smith says.

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