Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Nigeria: 38 Killed in Christmas Weekend Attacks
- Iraqi Christians Join Christmas Worship in France
- Indonesia: Muslims Surround Homes Of Christians
Nigeria: 38 Killed in Christmas Weekend Attacks
Communities in northern and central Nigeria are reeling after multiple bomb attacks claimed at least 38 lives in Plateau State over the Christmas weekend. Fighting continues in the city of Jos in Plateau State, where a series of bombs exploded in two Christian neighborhoods. Two explosions occurred in bars in the Angwan Rukuba area, while another took place in Gada Biyu. Around 28 seriously injured people were admitted to the ECWA Evangel Hospital, while others were taken to Jos University Teaching Hospital. Many victims lost limbs, while others had shrapnel removed from their bodies. Attacks also marred Christmas Eve in Maiduguri in Borno State, when Bishara Baptist Church was razed to the ground by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect. The church's pastor and four elders were burnt to death, and three church members were shot dead outside the building.
Iraqi Christians Join Christmas Worship in France
Christians in Iraq observed a quiet Christmas due to extremist threats, but they were not forgotten by Iraqi refugees in other countries. Iraqi refugees who were evacuated to France following the Oct. 31 church attack in Baghdad attended a special service over the Christmas weekend, the AFP reports. "This mass is held especially for the survivors of the attack of October 31," said Elish Yako, leader of a French association supporting Iraq's Christians, at the mass in the Chaldean Church of Paris. "Every time I go into a church I have tears in my eyes. I have forgotten the words to the prayers, even 'Our Father'," said Mariam, 65, one of the survivors of the attack who attended the Paris service. "My heart is there, my thoughts are there with the families who stayed, the ones who lost family members," she said. Forty-four parishioners were killed when al Qaeda gunmen stormed the church.
Indonesia: Muslims Surround Homes Of Christians
Christians in the Indonesian village of Rancaekek Wetan were forced to abandon their worship service on Dec. 12 after a crowd of Muslims protested outside the house church. Local police chief Hendro Pandowo, who backed the protesters, noted that the house church did not have a permit to operate as a place of worship. The crowd, on the other hand, did obtain a permit to protest. "If the place was legally designated as a church, we'd provide security protection. Otherwise, we can't do much as it's against the law," he said, according to Worthy News. Christians allege they have been forced to hold services inside their homes because local authorities have repeatedly refused or ignored requests approve a place of worship for them.