Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iraqi Christians Fleeing at Worrying Rate
- Election Violence Hits Nigeria before Polling Day
- Catholics in Germany Quit Church in Droves Last Year
- Luis Palau Preaches to Thousands in Communist Vietnam
Iraqi Christians Fleeing at Worrying Rate
An estimated 45,000 to 95,000 Christians have left Iraq since October 31, 2010, when an al-Qaeda-linked group killed almost 60 Christians at a church in Baghdad. “If this exodus is not stopped, Iraq will not have any Christians left in three years," one uncover field worker for Open Doors said. Sources have told Open Doors that only an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 Christians remain in the country. Many sources reported that in 1991 Christians in Iraq numbered around 850,000, including those living in the Kurdish region. In 2003 the number dropped to 550,000 and in early 2010 there were 345,000. “Due to killings, attacks and threats, many Christians have lost relatives and have become so afraid that they have left Iraq for such countries as Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan or for countries in the West,” the field worker said.
Election Violence Hits Nigeria before Polling Day
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that Nigeria’s first round of elections passed off largely successfully, despite violent incidents in several states in the run-up to polling day and on the day itself. In one of the most serious incidents, one person died and six others were critically injured in a bomb explosion at a polling station in Maiduguri, Borno State. Earlier on April 8, eight people were reported to have people died and 56 were injured when suspected Muslim gunmen stormed a police station that was sorting election materials. At least 25 people were killed that day, most of whom were checking their names for the National Assembly elections. Other states also experienced deadly violence. CSW's Stuart Windsor said the elections are encouraging, but says the attacks on non-Muslims are part of a "worrying trend."
Catholics in Germany Quit Church in Droves Last Year
The Local reports that 180,000 Catholics left the Church last year, up 40 percent from the previous year. About 150,000 people left the country's Protestant Church (EKD). Many Catholics had left as a “personal form of protest and expression of disgust" after child abuse scandals came to light, Cologne vicar-general Dominik Schwaderlapp told the magazine Christ & Welt. The magazine surveyed 27 Catholic dioceses, 24 of which provided definite figures or estimates. More than 200 cases of alleged abuse surfaced in the first half of 2010. Liberal dioceses in Trier and Rottenburg-Stuttgart seemed particularly prone to membership losses, with more than 60 percent of members quitting in some cases.
Luis Palau Preaches to Thousands in Communist Vietnam
The Christian Post reports that evangelist Luis Palau joined tens of thousands of Vietnamese Christian in Ho Chi Minh City this weekend, all celebrating the Protestant church's 100th anniversary in the country. “I am humbled to take part in this historic effort in Vietnam,” said Palau, in a statement Monday. “The Christian community here is so passionate, so patriotic, so optimistic, and so excited for the future of the nation. It is thrilling to see. We love Vietnam and we are overjoyed. We look forward to many years of service to the nation, as God allows.” Government official's granted permission for the event just hours before it was held. Under Vietnamese laws governing religion, the freedom to worship is seen as a privilege instead of a fundamental human right.