Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Tunisia's Religious Police: 'Is This the Fate of Tunisia?'
- Nigeria: Bomb Blast in Kaduna Leaves at Least Eight Dead
- Mob Attacks on Iraqi Christian Businesses Raise Security Concerns
- Explorers Say They've Found Pieces of Noah's Ark
Tunisia's Religious Police: 'Is This the Fate of Tunisia?'
A "committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice" has been launched in Tunisia by radical Salafist groups to promote Islamic virtues -- an unofficial committee but one that government officials have failed to take action against and one that the Tunisian civil society doesn't have the political power to counter, Hudson New York reports. The committee of "self-appointed custodians of Islamic virtues" is aggressively taking action -- forcing women to abide by strict dress codes, assaulting intellectuals and filmmakers, and forbidding moderate Muslims from teaching or being on the radio, just to name a few instances. "Is this the fate of Tunisia?" an editorial in the Tunisian media outlet Investir en Tunisie asks. "Is this post-revolutionary Tunisia?"
Nigeria: Bomb Blast in Kaduna Leaves at Least Eight Dead
A bomb blast rocked Kaduna, Nigeria, last week, leaving at least eight dead and many badly injured and causing extreme damage to properties and businesses, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. Eyewitnesses reported that the bombers were on motorcycles and heading toward a busy trading area when the explosion occurred. The Kaduna State police commissioner attributed the explosion to gas cylinders and batteries in the shops, but locals insist it was a bomb -- shops in the area don't sell gas and a battery explosion would not have caused such extensive damage. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but there are suspicions that the radical Islamist group Boko Haram may have been involved, said Andrew Johnston, advocacy director for CSW.
Mob Attacks on Iraqi Christian Businesses Raise Security Concerns
Recent attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq by Muslim mobs have raised questions about the future safety of the country's shrinking Christian population, particularly as U.S. forces withdraw completely, Fox News reports. The attacks have received little international attention, but a Christian member of the Iraqi parliament confirmed that dozens of shops -- many Christian-owned -- were burned and destroyed across multiple cities. "The Iraqi Christians ... are living in fear," said U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who is pushing for the creation of a special religious freedom envoy in the region. "Now with the forces leaving ... I think the Iraqi Christians are going to go through a very, very difficult time." Juliana Taimoorazy of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council said it was "disturbing" that the U.S. government had not spoken out against the attacks. "We're on the verge of extinction," she said.
Explorers Say They've Found Pieces of Noah's Ark
A group of scientists say they have discovered two large sections of Noah's ark resting just below the surface atop Mount Ararat in Turkey, where the Bible says the ark came to rest, ASSIST News Service reports. The team of explorers used military satellite imaging and ground-penetrating radar technology to locate the ruins, which are buried under ice, and they believe the large object is wooden. "The evidence is overwhelming," said Daniel McGivern, a member of the team. "The mountain is treeless ... volcanic with gases. There is no conceivable way that you could have an object that big on a mountain. This is the large piece from Noah's ark." Tyler James of CBN News said that since there was no way to melt the ice to get to the ruins, the explorers' claim might never be verified, "but the discovery could provide a great opportunity to share the gospel."
Publication date: December 12, 2011