Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Conservative Christians Push Apple to Restore Manifesto App
- Islamic Groups in Indonesia Protest Worship inside Mall
- ChinaAid Websites Collapse under Repeated Cyber Attacks
- Groups to Press Obama to Defend Iraqi Christians
Conservative Christians Push Apple to Restore Manifesto App
Conservative Christiansare after protesting after an app for a manifesto opposing gay marriage and abortion has been plucked from Apple's popular online store. "With 300,000+ available apps, it is surprising to us that there couldn't continue to be an app focused on ... views that millions of Americans have in common," said Charles Colson, an evangelical leader and co-drafter of the manifesto, known as the Manhattan Declaration. The app took users to the 4,000-word statement released last year that urges Christians to safeguard human life from conception to natural death, and to defend traditional marriage and religious liberty. More than 478,000 people have signed the document, Religion News Service reports. The app was originally posted in October after Apple said it had "no objectionable content." Apple had removed the app by Dec. 1 because it was "offensive to large groups of people." More than 7,700 people signed a petition demanding Apple remove the app.
Islamic Groups in Indonesia Protest Worship inside Mall
After closing churches in West Java, South Sulawesi, Sumatra, and other provinces, hard-line Islamic organizations are now attempting to stop Christian worship in or near shopping malls. Compass Direct News reports that dozens of people demonstrated in south Jakarta on Nov. 19, protesting worship of an unnamed church at the shopping center. Bonar Tigor Naipospos, vice president of the Setara Institute for Justice and Peace, said he was surprised at opposition to worship at Gandaria City Mall. Malls are public spaces where many different activities may take place, he said. "Because it's a public space, there is no relationship between permits and worship," he said. "It's different if you want to erect a church [building] on your own property." Naipospos said churches are meeting in malls because obtaining permits is so difficult.
ChinaAid Websites Collapse under Repeated Cyber Attacks
The Chinese-language website of ChinaAid, which monitors and reports on religious persecution and human rights abuses in China, collapsed Dec. 1 under cyber attacks. ASSIST News Service reports and a bilingual companion website also went down under heavy malicious traffic. Although ChinaAid has no way to definitively identify those behind the attacks, the group suspects China's Public Security Bureau (PSB) has some part in them. ChinaAid persistently reports on the increased official persecution from the PSB directed at religious believers, particularly house church Christians. That, the group said, that has been part of a wider government crackdown on dissent since the announcement in early Oct. that the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Groups to Press Obama to Defend Iraqi Christians
Christian and cultural groups protested in front of the White House on Saturday, urging President Obama to take action on behalf of Iraqi Christians. According to The Christian Post, groups such as the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and the American Mesopotamian Organization joined the event. Iraqi Christians have faced ongoing persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists since 2003, and about half the Christian population has fled the country since then. Just over a month ago, suicide attackers killed almost 60 people when they assaulted Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad on Oct. 31. "We had enough," said Waleeta Canon, director of the Assyria Foundation, at a November protest. "We've had enough of the failure of the U.S. government ignoring the Christian minority in Iraq, ignoring the Assyrians of Iraq."