Religion Today Summaries - December 22, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 22, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Religious Freedom Under Fire at the United Nations
  • Christian Woman Killed in Nigeria's Kaduna State
  • Religious Minorities in Iraq Suffering 'Slow Genocide'
  • Egypt Releases 27 Copts Falsely Detained in Maspero Massacre


Religious Freedom Under Fire at the United Nations

The Religion News Service reports that on Dec. 19, the United Nations adopted a resolution against religious intolerance. However, religious rights groups say the resolution, backed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is really designed to prevent and criminalize criticism of Islam as well as granting cover to Islamic-based blasphemy laws such as those in Pakistan. Frank Gaffney, president of the American Center for Security Policy, says the OIC is a "multi-national Muslim mafia. ... It is 57 states and Palestine that have come together to promote what is fundamentally the agenda that is known as sharia [Islamic law]." Author Nina Shea added, "[The OIC is] asking the West to enforce criminal punishment for blasphemy against Islam within Western borders against their own citizens." The American Center for Law and Justice is calling for nations with histories of religious persecution to think twice before implementing the new resolution.

Christian Woman Killed in Nigeria's Kaduna State

A Muslim villager in Kaduna State allegedly helped Fulani herdsmen and other area Muslims ambush a Christian settlement, resulting in the death of one woman and gunshot wounds to two others, Compass Direct News reports. After a schoolteacher helped them survey the site, the Muslim gunmen waited behind trees outside Kunam Musa Blak's house, killing her and wounding her husband and his cousin when they came outside. The Christian settlement in the Jankassa ward of Kukum Gida village consists of 425 people who all attend the local Evangelical Church Winning All. "Even though this is the first attack on our community, we are now living in fear and uncertainty as regards our safety," said Jonah Bayina, the head of the village ward. "I have been praying that these Muslims who attack us come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior, too."

Religious Minorities in Iraq Suffering 'Slow Genocide'

A filmmaker who spent the last three years in Iraq says Christians and other religious minorities there live in constant fear and face potential genocide, the Christian Post reports. According to Gwendolen Cates, Iraqi Christians want to stay in their home country but they fear for their lives. Assyrian Christians are not Muslim converts but an ethnic group that dates back to ancient times, and along with two other native minority groups, they face extinction and banishment. Cates said many Iraqis told her that life was surprisingly better under Saddam Hussein, and that things only continued to get worse. Last week, Cates met with evangelical and Jewish leaders in New York to argue that Iraqi religious minorities might be wiped out unless action is taken to protect them. Her documentary on religious refugees from Iraq, "Mourning in the Garden of Eden," is set to debut next fall. "The mood [in Iraq] is one of fear," she said.

Egypt Releases 27 Copts Falsely Detained in Maspero Massacre

A Cairo criminal court decided this week to accept the appeal and release of 27 Coptic Christian detainees who were arrested and falsely charged in connection with the events of the Maspero massacre on Oct. 9, when 27 Copts were killed and 329 injured, ASSIST News Service reports. The decision was hailed by the Coptic church and various rights groups, though they believe it was not enough. "Where is the accountability of the persons responsible for the blood that was shed in Maspero?" said Coptic priest Filopateer Gameel, citing the 12 Christian protesters crushed and killed by armored vehicles in October. The defense team for the Coptic victims says it will continue to fight until all those killed, injured or detained unlawfully "have received the justice they deserve."

Publication date: December 22, 2011