Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 25, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 25, 2008

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

  • Hatred Against Christians Has Escalated in Turkey
  • Obama Tells Christianity Today about His Faith and Reaching Evangelicals
  • Elderly Christian Woman’s Home Set Ablaze in Bangladesh
  • Somaliland Officials Torture House Church Pastor

Hatred Against Christians Has Escalated in Turkey

ASSIST News Service reports that Turkish police in a popular tourist resort of Antalya stopped a murder plot on Dec. 30 last year. According to a story published by the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) the objective was to kill Ramazan Arkan, a priest working in The Church of Incil, in Antalya. AINA said the case resembles other attacks against Christians in Turkey, where the hatred against Christian believers has escalated lately. AINA said that the Turkish TV channel HABERTÜRK reported the news of the planned assassination. A 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident. AINA said that according to some Turkish newspapers, the suspect said during interrogations he was inspired by the TV series “Valley of the Wolves,” a popular show among Turkish ultranationalists. Christians are targeted on hundreds of Internet sites as missionaries and thus threats against national security.

Obama Tells Christianity Today> about His Faith and Reaching Evangelicals

According to a Religion News Service release, in an interview with Christianity Today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama cited several issues in which he believes his stances would be viewed favorably by evangelicals. This is the third interview Christianity Today has conducted with the 2008 presidential candidates. Obama on reaching evangelicals: "Evangelicals have come to believe oftentimes that Democrats are anti-faith. Part of my job in this campaign, something that I started doing well before this campaign, was to make sure I was showing up and reaching out and sharing my faith experience with people who share that faith." On abortion: "I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion. I think it's very important to start with that premise. ... Our goal should be to make abortion less common, that we should discourage unwanted pregnancies and encourage adoption wherever possible."

Elderly Christian Woman’s Home Set Ablaze in Bangladesh

Compass Direct News reports that unknown attackers tried to burn a 70-year-old woman to death on January 7 after learning that she would be baptized as a Christian next month. Rahima Beoa, who was planning to be baptized on February 13 in Muslim-majority Rangpur district, suffered burns over 70 percent of her body. “The unknown people wanted to burn alive the elderly woman because they came to know that she would be a Christian in the next month,” said Khaled Mintu, regional district supervisor of the Isha-E-Jamat Bangladesh church. “It was a devilish conspiracy to stop her being a Christian.”

Somaliland Officials Torture House Church Pastor

All the members of a house church based in Hargeysa, Somaliland, were forced to flee to neighboring Ethiopia after hearing that the government was preparing to arrest them, ASSIST News Service reports. The pastor of the church, however, decided to stay in Somaliland. The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the order of one of Somaliland’s high-ranking government officials, the pastor was imprisoned on December 3, 2007, for leading the official’s niece to Christ. Though the pastor was released on December 7, 2007, he has been placed under 24-hour surveillance by Somaliland security officials. ICC says that during his imprisonment, Somaliland’s Criminal Investigation Department tortured the pastor in order to obtain the names of the members of his house church, but failed to obtain any information from him.