Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iraqi Christian Killed in 'Targeted Shooting'
- Muslim Influence Suppresses Christians near Chechnya
- African Religious Leaders Warn about HIV during World Cup
- Christian Rock Pioneer Dana Key Dies at 56
Iraqi Christian Killed in 'Targeted Shooting'
Assyrian International News Agency reports that Christians in Iraq are fearful of renewed violence after 34-year-old Hani Salim Wadi was killed Monday nigh. Wadi, a Christian businessman, was shot in front of his house in Kirkuk in a "targeted killing," eyewitnesses said. "We Christians are once more targets of attacks," one Christian told AsiaNews. Christians in Kirkuk and Mosul have been subjected to a series of attacks over the past months. At the beginning of May, a bus convoy of Christian students was attacked with explosive devices, leaving almost 200 wounded and four dead. Chaldean Archbishop Emil Nona said, "We are seeing another, the umpteenth, attack against Christians. The violence continues without relief."
Muslim Influence Suppresses Christians near Chechnya
Mission News Network reports that increasing Muslim influence has forced Christians to withdraw from public outreach in Russia's Northern Caucasus. Hosanna Church, the republic of Dagestan's largest Pentecostal church, was banned from its five-year prison ministry as well as intervention programs for drug addicts. Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association said the new ban has brought out the area's Muslim presence. "What we're seeing in Dagestan really is something that we've been seeing in a growing fashion in a lot of the Muslim regions: Islam is on the ascendancy and Evangelical churches are having to fly much more under the radar," he said. "You have evangelical churches going in and making quite difference with some of these groups, and some of the other more entrenched religious groups in these areas haven't really had a history of doing all that much. [Christians are] seen as a threat by these other groups."
African Religious Leaders Warn about HIV during World Cup
Religion News Service reports that African Christian and Muslim leaders are warning of increased vulnerability to HIV infections during the soccer World Cup in South Africa, which begins today. The world soccer extravaganza is coming to Africa for the first time, and religious leaders want governments to help commercial sex workers and their clients protect themselves against HIV during the event. "When you add a whole group of men, plus lots of free time and lots of liquor together it makes an explosive combination," said the Rev. Jape Heath, an HIV-positive South African Anglican priest. He is a co-founder of a network of African religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS. The faith leaders have called for intensified services to stop the possible spread of infection.
Christian Rock Pioneer Dana Key Dies at 56
The Christian Post reports that Dana Key, a pioneer in the Christian Rock genre, has died at age 56. Key also served as senior pastor of The Love of Christ (TLC) Church in Cordova, Tenn., until his death Sunday evening. Key co-founded the rock band DeGarmo and Key with his longtime friend Eddie DeGarmo more than 30 years ago. The band attempted to "communicate a clear, honest Christian message through straight-ahead rock 'n' roll." The band recorded 17 albums and two dozen Grammy and Dove Award nominations. Key continued work in the Christian music industry for years, writing songs for Amy Grant and Sandi Patty and signing new artists. "He lived his life fully dedicated to building God's kingdom with every breath he took. He was a true pioneer," said DeGarmo, who had been friends with Key since they were about 7 and led him to Christ at the age of 15.