Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 7, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 7, 2009

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

  • Pakistan Rights Group: Christian Riots Planned
  • Nigeria: Girl Forced to Watch Pastor's Brutal Murder
  • Honduras: Political Instability Hurts Missions
  • Turkey: Christian Held Hostage at Knife Point in Istanbul


Pakistan Rights Group: Christian Riots Planned

The Associated Press reports that last weekend's deadly attack on Christians was planned by an group with al-Qaida links. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan head Asma Jahangir, interviews with victims' families and witnesses said many attackers came from a neighboring district known as a stronghold of banned militant groups. "The attackers seemed to be trained for carrying out such activities," she said. Muslim clerics were also implicated, she said, as many of them had encouraged Muslims the day before to "make mincemeat of the Christians." Other reports indicate that militants fleeing an army offensive in northwest Swat Valley were also involved in the killings. The verbal attacks culminated in mob violence that killed eight Christians.

Nigeria: Girl Forced to Watch Pastor's Brutal Murder

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that a 13-year-old Nigerian Christian was forced to watch her pastor’s murder during recent violence. She was also held as a prisoner in the besieged compound of Islamist group Boko Haram for four days. On July 26, Mary was in church with her pastor, his brother and an older Christian woman when a group of fifty militants broke in. She and her pastor hid as the group killed the pastor’s brother and dragged the older woman out of the room. On discovering their hiding place, the militants cut off her pastor’s hand to stop him holding on to her, then hacked him to death with machetes before setting him on fire. Mary says she was forced to wash the blood stained clothing of Boko Haram fighters. She managed to escape with a few others when military forces intensified their attack on the compound. 

Honduras: Political Instability Hurts Missions

Mission News Network reports that political limbo in Honduras has hampered missions and compounded a growing humanitarian problem. Twenty-four hour curfews have prevented people from accessing water, food, medical care and even shelter. Military troops patrol many areas of the country, raising tensions even higher. John Lowrey with Christian Resources International says his group's mission trip has been continually pushed backward, ultimately leading them to cancel the trip. "We did go ahead and ship all of the materials that we intended to use for our ministry while we were in country," Lowrey said. "We shipped it to [a Honduran pastor] so those resources are there. And we also had a pastor and his wife from Mississippi that chose to go ahead and do the trip on their own."

Turkey: Christian Held Hostage at Knife Point in Istanbul

Compass Direct News reports that a young Muslim in Turkey took a Christian Turk at knife point in a bizarre show of Turkish nationalism. Yasin Karasu, 24, took Ismail Aydýn, 35, hostage and draped his head with the national flag and threatened to slit the throat of the “missionary dog” in broad daylight earlier this week. Police quickly arrived at the scene, while Karasu held them at bay with threats to kill Aydýn. “Do you see this missionary dog?” he yelled at the crowd. “He is handing out gospels and he is breaking up the country!” Police managed to convince Karasu to put down the knife and release Aydin, telling him that if he killed the convert Turkey would be ridiculed around the world, and that as a last resort they were authorized to shoot to kill him. The ordeal lasted less than half an hour.