Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Malaysia Seeks to Contain Church Attacks
- Students Take Mission Trip to Las Vegas, Porn Expo
- Egypt: Christians Face Violence after Christmas Eve Shootings
- Petition Raises Concern about UK Equality Bill
Malaysia Seeks to Contain Church Attacks
BusinessWeek reports that police in Malaysia are investigating at least 10 attacks on churches in the country, trying to head off the sharp rise in religious violence. The Muslim-majority country was relatively peaceful until last week's court ruling that allowed Christians to use the word "Allah" in their own services and literature. "Perhaps for the first time in Malaysian history a religious place of worship has been firebombed," said Steven Gan, editor-in-chief of Malaysiakini.com. Christians, however, are taking hope from the ruling and furthering other legal challenges. Another Christian has challenged the confiscation of CDs that uses "Allah" in its non-Muslim sense. "It is our right to continue to use the word, we have been using it from even before Merdeka (Independence)," Daniel Raut, president of the church in mainland Malaysia, told reporters outside the court in Kuala Lumpur.
Students Take Mission Trip to Las Vegas, Porn Expo
The Christian Post reports that one Seattle-area church took a mission trip to an annual place this year: the annual AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. Last weekend, almost two dozen members of EastLake Community Church joined XXXChurch to take the Gospel to "those the church will often count out - porn stars, prostitutes, druggies, pedophiles, dead beat dads, you, and me," said XXXChurch's Jake Larson. "God's love is infinity more intense than any love we could offer and He is committed to reveal that love to everyone," he said. Church visitors handed out water bottles, food and Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bibles, while some stepped inside the convention hall to man a booth. "It was amazing to me to see people so willingly bring something so dangerous into their most intimate relationship," EastLake member Kendall Siemers reflected.
Egypt: Christians Face Violence after Christmas Eve Shootings
ASSIST News Service reports that fatal violence against Coptic Christians continues in southern Egypt. Two days after a drive-by church shooting that killed 7 people, a Muslim mob in the town of Nag Hammadi torched and looted Coptic homes, shops and cars. One widow, Mary Om Boktor Kyrollos, died of fumes after her home was torched while she was inside. The Friday evening violence spread to the nearby town of Bahgoura, where the mob disconnected water and electricity. According to witnesses, fire brigades arrive 90 minutes late and were ill-equipped to handle the blazes. Coptic Christians have repeatedly accused the state security forces of turning a blind eye to violence against the minority community. "[State Security forces] simply do not arrest them [Muslims], they just tell them to go away," one witness said.
Petition Raises Concern about UK Equality Bill
Christian Today reports that British Christians are petitioning for the withdrawal of a so-called "Equality Bill" that could limit religious freedom in the United Kingdom. The bill prevents employers from discriminating on the basis of religion or sexual orientation, even in churches and organizations that take opposite positions as potential hires. The petition's author, Blandford Forum resident David Skinner, said, "We believe that religion and civil liberty must include the right to live and speak according to one's conscience privately and in the public sphere, both individually and collectively, without harassment or the fear of civil or criminal penalty... We must join together to commit ourselves to reaffirm the value and necessity of religious and civil liberty and the rights of conscience across the UK today."