Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Afghani Christian Facing Execution, Rights Group Warns
- Egypt Criticized for Acquitting Suspects in Coptic Killing Case
- Islamists Suspected in Abduction of Christian Girl in Sudan
- Christian Driven from Homes in Laos Face Starvation
Afghani Christian Facing Execution, Rights Group Warns
An Afghani Christian under arrest for converting to Christianity is moving closer to execution according to reports from human rights advocates. Said Musa faces the death penalty charge of "apostasy" from Islam. He was arrested May 31, 2010, with other converts after footage of a baptismal service was viewed on national television. The 45-year-old Afghani has been beaten, tortured, and sexually abused on a daily basis according to Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom. According to Marshall, no Afghan lawyer will defend Musa and authorities have denied him access to a foreign lawyer. Commenting on the situation, Institute on Religion & Democracy Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell said, "We cannot just pay lip service to the idea that Christians facing persecution in Afghanistan are our brothers and sisters. We have to behave as if they are. We should see this persecution as an attack on a member of our own family."
Egypt Criticized for Acquitting Suspects in Coptic Killing Case
Christian Today reports that two alleged accomplices in a church bombing that killed six Christians in Egypt have been acquitted. The January 2010 drive-by shooting killed six Christians and a Muslim security guard outside a Nag Hammadi church on the orthodox Christmas Eve. A state security court has upheld the death sentence handed to chief suspect Mohamed Ahmed Hussein. The Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Nag Hammadi, Bishop Cyril, condemned the verdict. “The court imposed one death sentence because one Muslim was killed, and the Egyptian judiciary wasted the blood of the six murdered Copts, who are of no value to the society,” he said. The blood of Christians, however, is "worth nothing." He believes the two acquittals signals the increasingly influence of Sharia law on Christians in Egypt.
Islamists Suspected in Abduction of Christian Girl in Sudan
Compass Direct News reports that a Christian widow in north Sudan is agonizing over the kidnapping of her daughter eight months ago by suspected Islamic extremists in Khartoum. Ikhlas Anglo said her daughter, 15-year-old Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, went missing while returning from the Ministry of Education in Khartoum on June 27, 2010. Hiba had gone to the education ministry office to obtain her transcripts for entry to secondary school. Two days later, the family received threatening telephone calls from the kidnappers telling them to pay 1,500 Sudanese pounds (US$560) to secure her return. Anglo and others said they believe the kidnappers are Muslim extremists who have targeted them because they are Christians, and that police are aiding the criminals. She said that when she went to a police station to open a case, police bluntly told her she must first leave Christianity for Islam. Anglo was also fired from her job for taking time to look for her daughter.
Christian Driven from Homes in Laos Face Starvation
A group of Christians in Laos is facing severe food shortages after authorties forced them from their homes and destroyed their crops. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that the group of about 65 Christians was forced out of Katin village when they refused to give up their faith at gunpoint in 2010. Village officials are now refusing to let them back into the village to farm their land, and have destroyed a makeshift garden outside the village. Families still inside the village have been forbidden to help the Christians. At first 11 families were driven from the village in Saravan province at gunpoint during a worship service in January 2010, before a further seven families of new converts to Christianity were driven out in December 2010. The Laos Constitution provides protection for its people to practice a religion of their choice without discrimination. However, legislative protection is weak and implementation at a local level can be arbitrary.