Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Nigeria Named to Panel's List of Religious Freedom Violators
- 'Angels and Demons' Fails to Generate Vatican Outrage
- No Arrests in Pakistani Christian Girl's Death
- Anglicans to Decide on Sending Covenant Out for Approval
Nigeria Named to Panel's List of Religious Freedom Violators
Religion News Service reports that an independent federal panel on religious freedom has added two countries to its list of "countries of particular concern"-- Iraq and Nigeria -- and six others to its watch list. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom added Iraq to its list of "countries of particular concern" in December, and added Nigeria in its 2009 report, released May 1. Nigeria has been added to the list because commissioners believe the country is tolerating violations of religious freedom. Hundreds -- and some estimate thousands -- were killed in sectarian violence in the city of Jos in the Plateau state in November. Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Venezuela were added to the list for the first time this year. Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam remain on the list.
'Angels and Demons' Fails to Generate Vatican Outrage
Catholic News Service reports that the Vatican responded to the second Dan Brown film with a different attitude - avoidance. The Vatican barred the filming of "Angels and Demons" from sites within Vatican City, but has otherwise ignored the film, to be released May 15. Director Ron Howard has lodged various complaints against the Holy See, and acknowledged at a press conference that the film's marketing might include exploiting potential conflict with the Vatican. "The marketing department of any studio would love to be able to create controversy over their films. But they can't do it on their own; they need a partner," he said. The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, declined to comment on Howard's accusations, saying they were merely designed to generate publicity for the film, which depicts various conspiracies and power plays at work within the Vatican.
No Arrests in Pakistani Christian Girl's Death
Christian Today reports that police have yet to arrest anyone in the month following the death of a young Christian girl. Medical reports indicate that nine-year-old Nisha Javid was gang-raped before being bludgeoned to death in a grim incident that has been repeated too often among Pakistan's Christian minority. More than three weeks later, police have been accused of inaction and refusing to follow up allegedly compelling evidence identifying the guilty party. "If nothing is done about this, where can our children go to feel safe? Everyone feels very insecure and very afraid," said Fr. Yaqub Masih, parish priest of Jaranwala, Faisalabad, close to Nisha's village. "Our people are very poor and they have no status in society," said Masih. "What can they do to protect themselves?"
Anglicans to Decide on Sending Covenant Out for Approval
The Christian Post reports that the Anglican leaders may soon send out a document that they hope will relieve tense disagreements within the Anglican Communion. The third "Ridley-Cambridge" draft will be approved or sent back for further revision by the Communion at the 14th Anglican Consultative Council meeting, which began Saturday in Kingston, Jamaica. Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon told reporters, “The hope is that the ACC will feel that it’s mature enough to go to the provinces.” The document asks for the Communion's 38 provinces to voluntarily submit to a process of joined-up deliberation to solve disputes over contentious issues.