Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Detained Afghan Christian Fears Execution
- 'Not Done Weeping Yet' in Japan
- Two Christians Conditionally Released from Iranian Prison
- Two British Schools Stop Gideon Bible Handouts
Detained Afghan Christian Fears Execution
More than a month after international pressure led to the release of one imprisoned Afghan Christian, another remains behind bars and fearful of execution. Worthy News reports that Shoaib Assadullah, 23, was arrested on Oct. 21, for giving a Bible to a man who later reported him to local authorities. Assadullah says he has been beaten and subject to death threats to fellow inmates in prison. "Several times I have been attacked physically and threatened with death by fellow prisoners, especially [from members of the] Taliban [group] and anti-government prisoners who are in jail," he wrote in a letter dated Feb. 17. Three weeks later, he wrote, "I am under emotional pressure from being in prison. Add to that the threat of being executed, constant insults and accusations, threats, cursing and being forced by other prisoners and by prison guards to do work for them all because of prejudice against my different beliefs and my different ethnicity."
'Not Done Weeping Yet' in Japan
Baptist Press reports that Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers finally distributed relief goods in Ishinomaki, Japan, this week after two weeks of attempting to gain access to the quake-stricken areas. Power outages, gas rationing, an escalating nuclear crisis and relocation of International Mission Board personnel hampered earlier attempts. Officials estimate that at least 18,000 people were killed in the March 11 earthquake. International Mission Board missionary Jared Jones said people have been remarkably open to talking with and praying with missionaries amid the scenes of devastation. "This is not like any other disaster I've ever seen," Jones said. "I'm not done weeping yet."
Two Christians Conditionally Released from Iranian Prison
Two new Christian believers who were arrested and spent more than 63 days in Karoon prison of Ahvaz have been conditionally released. ASSIST News Service reports that the two had to post a combined bail of U.S. $100,000. The Iranian Christian news agency, the temporary release of these prisoners of conscience from custody coincides with the recent conditional freedoms granted to political and security-risk prisoners. The two men were arrest in January for alleged national security crimes, which could result in two to five years in prison. Both were arrested during a wave of government crackdowns on Christians in the country at the beginning of the year.
Two British Schools Stop Gideon Bible Handouts
Christian Today reports that two schools in Britain have put a stop to Bible distributions on their campuses. Maggie Tate, deputy head teacher of Abbot Beyne School, told the Burton Mail that the school was a multi-faith institution and "felt it was inappropriate to allow one faith group to distribute material in school.” The schools said they do not allow any religious group to distribute material to their students. One supporter of the Gideon organization, Barry Martin, expressed his dismay over the move. He was quoted by the paper as saying: “We live in a Christian country. I think that if the Gideons want to offer Bibles to children then they should be allowed to do so.