Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 2, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 2, 2008

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

  • House Church in India Demolished by Muslim Extremists
  • Arab World Condemns Bhutto Murder
  • Dallas Suburb Allows Bricks with Religious Messages
  • Ministry Helps Youth Use Facebook to Help the Poor Overseas

House Church in India Demolished by Muslim Extremists

ASSIST News Service reports that an underground house church of Salem Voice Ministries was demolished by Muslim extremists at Sunnam Potty in Malabar, India on December 29. A mob of 10 to 15 people came by cars and vans with spades, pick axes, iron bars and other tools and weapons and totally demolished the church on Saturday night. The attackers are suspected to be activists of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India). In the last few months around 50 people have been attending the church every week for worship services. The majority were individual Muslim youngsters from various families. A baptism service was held early on Saturday morning, during which eight young people and three couples were baptized. Although it was a secret service, the news somehow leaked out. It is believed that might have provoked the extremists to demolish the church.

Arab World Condemns Bhutto Murder reports that the 22-member Arab League called last Thursday's assassination of Benazir Bhutto a "heinous terrorist crime," and the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference condemned it as an "outrageous and brutal murder." Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit urged Pakistani politicians to unite against "the forces of extremism and terrorism that want to disturb stability in a way that would have an impact, not only on the future of Pakistan but on that of the entire region." According to one Arabic expert, the Bhutto assassination is a "big blow" to all those elements in the Arab world that are pushing for modernization in the region. Bhutto wanted to move her country away from traditional tribalism and Islamic radicalism and push for modernization in Pakistan, Dr. Mordechai Kedar of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies said in a telephone interview.

Dallas Suburb Allows Bricks with Religious Messages

According to, the city of Plano, Texas has avoided legal action after city officials initially censored bricks on a public sidewalk that displayed crosses. Last spring, Plano residents had the opportunity to purchase bricks for a sidewalk at the city's new recreation center. Those purchasing bricks were allowed to have personal messages inscribed, and several families chose to have crosses inscribed. City crews recently overturned those bricks. But after receiving a letter from Liberty Legal Institute contesting the decision on the grounds of Constitutional rights, officials sent crews to reposition the bricks so that the crosses are visible, said Hiram Sasser of Liberty Legal Institute.

Ministry Helps Youth Use Facebook to Help the Poor Overseas

Bright Hope International has been holding a 10-day fundraiser that specifically targets younger generations, Mission Network News reports. Craig Dyer of BHI says the group has met with young people to figure out how to help them help the world. "We gathered a few around us that were already engaged and had a conversation about what really motivates people, what would be exciting, what would really be a cause that people could get behind. And we came up with using Facebook." Injustice Undone, the name of BHI's fundraiser, has been held on the website. "We're asking them to join the cause number one and then secondly to contribute 10 dollars, so we've made as low as possible entry level because we want as many people as possible to be involved and then to invite their friends to come along... People who have never been connected to Bright Hope or to helping the poor are now joining in because they've been specially invited by a good friend of theirs," Dyer said.