Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- More than 500 Dead in Nigeria Election Violence
- Global Bible Reading to Mark 400th Anniversary of KJV
- Charges Fabricated against Six Christians in Bangladesh
- Algerian Christians Arrested for Proselytizing and Blasphemy
More than 500 Dead in Nigeria Election Violence
Violence following Nigeria's presidential elections has led to more than 500 deaths, according to Christian Today. The re-election of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan has been certified as a fair election by outside observers, but opposition supporters refuse to accept the results. "Sadly, some misguided elements do not share in the spirit of our democratic achievement," said Jonathan last week. "They formed into groups of miscreants and struck with deadly and destructive force in some parts of the country. They killed and maimed innocent citizens. They set ablaze business premises, private homes, and even places of worship." Many of the deaths happened in Kaduna state, with three more deaths in Borno state on Easter Sunday. Authorities believe the Islamic sect Boko Haram is using the attacks to scare voters away from participating in the national gubernatorial elections in a week.
Global Bible Reading to Mark 400th Anniversary of KJV
In honor of the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version Bible, YouVersion is organizing the largest and fastest Bible-reading event in history. The online Bible site is asking for individuals to participate in reading an assigned portion of the KJV Bible during a 6 minute 40 second time-frame -- that's 400 seconds total -- beginning at 12 p.m. EDT on May 2. "We're celebrating history by making history," said Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation leader at Lifechurch.tv, creators of YouVersion. "Access to the Bible was greatly increased with the King James Version. Now, 400 years later, people are still being influenced by this translation." Participants are invited read their passages out loud, share photos and posts on Twitter and Facebook, or arrange a meetup to read their passages with friends. YouVersion will also switch the default online Bible version to the King James Version.
Charges Fabricated against Six Christians in Bangladesh
A judge has dismissed the case against six Christians who were accused of "hurting religious feelings" when they distributed Christian literature at their free health camp. Compass Direct News reports that area Muslims objected to the literature, leading to the Christians arrest on March 24. They were released on bail three days later. Mannan Mridha, pastor in the Way of Peace movement of 490 house churches in northwest Bangladesh, which established the health care camp, said a Japanese volunteer doctor offered Christian leaflets and Bibles to patients. The doctor also told patients they were under no obligation to take them, he said. “This incident of harassment is a grim reminder of how vulnerable the Christians here are in Muslim-majority society, though rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression by minorities are ensured in our constitution,” Mridha said.
Algerian Christians Arrested for Proselytizing and Blasphemy
ASSIST News Service reports that two Algerian Christians are scheduled to appear in court on charges of proselytizing and blasphemy, and may face a five year prison sentence. According to a news release from International Christian Concern (ICC), the two men were arrested and briefly imprisoned in Oran on April 14 after sharing their Christian faith with their neighbors. One of the men, Sofiane, was released a day after their arrest, while Krimo was imprisoned for three days. After the arrest, Algerian police searched Krimo's home for Bibles and other Christian material. Krimo was known to hold weekly prayer services at his home, which Algerian Christians suspect were being closely monitored by the police. Algerian Christians are fearful that a law introduced in 2006 - requiring religious services to obtain a government permit to worship - will be applied, which may result in a five year imprisonment a fine of almost $1,400.