Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- CSW Trip to Burma Finds Deepening Humanitarian Crisis
- Indonesian Theology Students Withstand Threats, Illness
- Canadian Bishops Warn against Human Trafficking at Winter Olympics
- Teen Convert, Muslim Parents to Meet, Talk About Religion
CSW Trip to Burma Finds Deepening Humanitarian Crisis
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that chronic food shortages and continuing, severe human rights violations are taking place in Chin and Kachin states in Burma. A recent fact-finding visit by CSW allegedly found that some aid founds have been dispensed as loans, instead of aid, to malnourished villagers, repayable at 200 per cent interest. Chin state has been devastated over the last two years by a chronic food shortgage caused by the flowering of bamboo and the subsequent plagues of rats, which have destroyed crops. The CSW delegation, which also met with Kachin refugees, received evidence from Kachin and Chin states of religious persecution, forced labour and attempted 'cultural genocide'.
Indonesian Theology Students Withstand Threats, Illness
Compass Direct News reports that some 1,000 seminary students are resisting efforts to evict them from the former municipal building of West Jakarta. The students took refuge there after Muslim protestors drove them from their campus last year. On Oct. 27 officials began evicting about 300 students of Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) from blocks I and II of the former mayoral building, but those in blocks III, IV, and V chose to remain. The students, some of whom had sown their mouths shut as part of a hunger strike, asserted that new quarters offered by the Jakarta Provincial Government are not yet fit for occupancy - dirty and unkempt with broken windows and doors. The seminary students told Compass that unidentified mobs have threatened them, telling them to leave the former municipal complex immediately. According to Rev. Matheus Mangentang, rector of SETIA, the seminary is "no longer safe."
Canadian Bishops Warn against Human Trafficking at Winter Olympics
Christian Today reports that bishops in Vancouver want the church and government officials to take a proactive approach against human trafficking during next year's Olympic games. In a joint statement, Anglican and Catholic bishops described the February 2010 Games as a "celebration of human development through sport" but also expressed their intention to stand together in opposing the "social ill of human trafficking". The bishops quoted a report from the US State Department, estimating the number of people trafficked across national borders each year to stand at 800,000. "We call upon the faithful of our churches and all people of good will to uphold and defend the dignity of every human person," they said. "We pray that the solidarity and success of the Olympic Games will give a new respect for human life around the world."
Teen Convert, Muslim Parents to Meet, Talk About Religion
Fox News reports that a teen convert to Christianity who ran away from her Muslim parents will soon meet them again. Caseworkers in Ohio say 17-year-old Rifqa Bary and her parents need to "hear out" each other's religious views. Still, the plan does not mean Rifqa will be returned from Ohio's child services to her parents' custody. Rifqa told officials that she ran away after her father found out about her conversion to Christianity and threatened to kill her. Her father denied the allegations, and a Florida investigative team could not substantiate Rifqa's claims. Rifqa disappeared from Ohio in July, and was found several days later at a pastor's home in Orlando, Fla. The pastor and his wife say they met the teen through a Facebook prayer group.