Religion Today Summaries - May 8, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 8, 2009

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

  • Libya: Ghanaian Missionary Released
  • Pakistan: Lawyer Threatens to Kill Man Charged with ‘Blasphemy’
  • Anti-Christian Attacks Reported in 2 Indian States
  • Southern Baptists' Top Ethicist Calls Waterboarding 'Torture'

Libya: Ghanaian Missionary Released

ASSIST News Service reports that Ghana’s Vice President, John Mahama, has secured the release of Daniel Baidoo, a Ghanaian evangelist based in Libya. Baidoo was serving a 25-year jail term for circulating Christian tracts in Arabic in that country. The release followed Mr. Mahama’s three-day visit to Libya after he had presented the clemency request for the release of Baidoo to the Libyan Leader, Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, through Dr. Al-Sayeed, a Libyan Envoy who called on him at his office at the Castle, Osu in Accra. Under Libyan Law, it is an offence to witness or try to convert a Libyan into another religion other than Islam.

Pakistan: Lawyer Threatens to Kill Man Charged with ‘Blasphemy’

Compass Direct News reports that a Pakistani Christian charged with abetting blasphemy against Islam was denied bail for his own safety last week after an Islamist lawyer allegedly threatened his life in a court hearing. Hector Aleem, 51, remains in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, near Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. Judge Mustafa Tanveer dismissed his bail application at a hearing on April 30. “If the judge does not punish Aleem according to the law, then [we] will kill him ourselves,” said Tariq Dhamal, an attorney for the unnamed complainant, according to reports. Aleem’s lawyer, Malik Tafik, said that he wants the trial closed to the public for safety, and fears that the judge is afraid to rule in favor of Aleem for fear of his life.

Anti-Christian Attacks Reported in 2 Indian States

The Christian Post reports that Hindu extremists in India continue to attack Christians, though extremists have stayed away from polling places during the national elections. In one incident, about 30 extremists attacked a Christian meeting in Mumbai and tried to force the 200 Christians present to recite Hindu devotions. When they refused, the extremists began beating those present, including a five-year-old child. The pastor required five stitches to the head, and 10 others received serious bruising. Five of the extremists have been arrested and charged with rioting. The incident resembles another attack on May 3, when 15 Hindu radicals attacks a prayer meeting and burned Bibles and literature in Chhattisgarh, India.

Southern Baptists' Top Ethicist Calls Waterboarding 'Torture'

Religion News Service (RNS) reports that the Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land, a leading Christian conservative who helped advance the Bush administration's agenda on a range of social issues, said Monday (May 4) that the formerly sanctioned practice of waterboarding of suspected terrorists is torture and "violates everything we stand for." Land, who is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, repudiated the simulated drowning techniques in an interview with RNS. "If the end justifies the means, then where do you draw the line?" Land said. "It's a moveable line. It's in pencil, not in ink. I believe there are absolutes. There are some things we must never do."