Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Japan Earthquake's Oldest Survivors Left in Limbo
- Five Christians Face Blasphemy Trials in Iran Today
- Indonesian Church Reports Defiant Mayor to National Police
- Pakistan: Protesters Demand Arrest of Christian Official's Killers
Japan Earthquake's Oldest Survivors Left in Limbo
Three weeks after Japan's devastating earthquake, many of the country's oldest victims are still homeless. According to Jeff Palmer with Baptist Global Response, about 65 percent of the earthquake's victims are over age 60. "If you're not in a shelter and you're not being cared for, you're kind of in limbo," he told Mission News Network. "There's a lot of those areas that we're finding and we're mobilizing help to them." The group is working with national partner on the ground, and hopes to increase their meal distribution from 3,000 a day to 6,000. Palmer said the needs are still exceeding available supplies of food and water.
Five Christians Face Blasphemy Trials in Iran Today
Worthy News reports that five Christians imprisoned for "crimes against the Islamic Order" are scheduled for a second trial today in the city of Shiraz, Iran. Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi Furutan, Parviz Khalaj, Mohammed Beliad and his wife Nazly Makarian Beliad have already been sentenced to one year in prison, which their lawyer is appealing, but may now face charges of blasphemy. Such charges can lead to the death penalty in the Islamic country. Sources also worry that the charges will be handled in a lower court, which tend to deliver more guilty verdicts than higher courts. One Christian close to those in prison asked Christians worldwide "to intercede and pray for" the five who will face trial today.
Indonesian Church Reports Defiant Mayor to National Police
Church leaders in West Java have reached out to the national government in an escalating between them and the city mayor of Bogor. Compass Direct News reports that, in the last month, the mayor has defied a Supreme Court decision granting a building permit for a church in the city, and even ordered police to repel churchgoers. Leaders of the Christian Church of Indonesia (GKI) in Yasmin Park finally asked the National Police to intervene yesterday, citing the mayor's threats of violence. A spokesperson for the church, Bona Sigalingging, said, "The mayor of Bogor has publically lied and twisted the facts, which are both crimes and public moral failures." Local Islamist groups have pressured the church to disband for years.
Pakistan: Protesters Demand Arrest of Christian Official's Killers
ASSIST News Service reports that about 2,000 Christians from all walks of life protested in front of the Lahore Provincial Assembly Hall on Sunday. All of them demanded that police arrest the suspected Islamist killers of Christian Minorities Minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. The minister was assassinated on March 2 in Islamabad. Many protesters carried pictures of Bhatti and also chanted anti-government and anti-police slogans accusing the latter of not doing enough to arrest the killers who are still at large. Many shouted for the repeal of the country's blasphemy laws and called for revolution.