Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 14, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 14, 2008

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Egyptian Converts Win Case but May Face Discrimination
  • One Dead, Two Injured in Attack on Christians in Nigeria
  • Religious Freedom Award Presented to Bob Fu of China Aid
  • Union Univ. Classes to Resume Feb. 20

Egyptian Converts Win Case but May Face Discrimination

Egypt’s top administrative court has ruled in favor of 12 converts to Islam seeking to return to Christianity but has left the group vulnerable to discrimination by mandating their former religion be noted on official documents. In his ruling Saturday (February 9), Judge El-Sayeed Noufal ordered Egypt’s Interior Ministry to issue the converts “Christian documents” noting their “ex-Muslim” status. Human rights activists heralded the decision as a breakthrough for religious freedom in Egypt, where conversion away from Islam, though not illegal, has been forbidden in practice. But human rights advocates remained wary, saying that listing the converts’ former religion on their documents would make them vulnerable to discrimination. “It’s obviously a stigmatization to have [“ex-Muslim”] on your ID card,” a representative for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told Compass Direct News.

One Dead, Two Injured in Attack on Christians in Nigeria

A policeman was killed and two Christian teenagers were injured in Kano state on Friday February 8 when Muslim high school students went on a rampage over claims that a Christian student had written a “blasphemous” article on Muhammad. Killed at the local police station after the attack on students at Government Secondary School-Sumaila was Inspector Jibrin Garba, also a Christian. One of the injured minors who suffered knife and machete wounds, Ahmadu Inuwa, said the accused Christian student, Ashiru Danlami, could not possibly have written the alleged English-language article as he could hardly speak in English, much less write in the language. The Rev. Samaila Kogo of the Evangelical Church of West Africa told Compass Direct News that Muslim students wrote and published the blasphemous article as a pretext for attacking Christian students. Having injured the two Christian students, the Muslim students went directly to the town’s police station, where they killed the Christian police officer and burned down the police station.

Religious Freedom Award Presented to Bob Fu of China Aid

Bob Fu, a leading advocate for the persecuted church in his native China, received a Southern Baptist religious freedom award during a ceremony at the Library of Congress February 7. A native of China, Fu founded the China Aid Association after he and his family fled to the United States in 1996. According to ASSIST News Service, China Aid monitors and reports on religious persecution by the Chinese government, especially of the unregistered church, which Fu said consists of from 60 to 80 million adherents. Fu's organization also seeks to aid persecuted believers in the world's most populous country. Before his conversion to Christ, Fu was a leader in the student democracy movement that was smashed at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. He became a house church pastor and a founder, along with his wife, Heidi, of a Bible school before being arrested and jailed in 1996. He started CAA in 2002. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), presented Fu with the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award.

Union Univ. Classes to Resume Feb. 20

Baptist Press reports that Union University students, displaced by the Feb. 5 tornado that ravaged the campus, will return to class Feb. 20. President David S. Dockery said all faculty and staff offices will open Feb. 18, with students returning to their housing Feb. 19 and beginning classes the next day. "It is absolutely amazing to think that we will be able to start classes within two weeks of this devastating story," Dockery said. "We are so excited about seeing our students return to class. I can't say enough about our faculty and staff and the amazing work they have done to enable us to be ready to move forward with the spring semester schedule." More than 1,100 residential students left campus after the EF-4 tornado destroyed much of Union's student housing. Two of the housing complexes -– Hurt and Watters -– were hit the hardest and will be demolished.