Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Bombs Kill 4, Wound 19 in Baghdad's Christian Areas
- Pakistan Relief Gifts Lagging, Group Told
- Missionary Pilot Drowns Trying to Save Teen in Indonesia
- Judge Puts Hold on Okla. Anti-Shariah Amendment
Bombs Kill 4, Wound 19 in Baghdad's Christian Areas
Christians in Iraq suffered another series of attacks yesterday that left four people dead and 19 more injured. According to The Los Angeles Times, at least 11 roadside bombs exploded within the span of an hour in three predominantly Christian areas of Baghdad, just one week after militants stormed a church in the city. Yesterday's bombings followed a similar attack on Christians' houses on Tuesday, though no one was injured in that bombing. "These attacks are not targeting only Christians, but also the government that has promised to protect the Christians," said Younadem Kana, a Christian member of the Iraqi parliament. He added that Wednesday's bombings exposed "grave flaws in the structure and the work of Iraq's security forces."
Pakistan Relief Gifts Lagging, Group Told
More people have been affected by the flooding in Pakistan in August than the 2004 tsunami and the Haiti and Pakistan earthquakes combined. Yet money donated for the recent tragedy's relief efforts continues to lag, Baptist Press reports. Todd Lafferty, a global strategist for South Asian peoples at the International Mission Board, presented the need during an Oct. 3-5 South Asia Summit in Knoxville, Tenn. More than $16,600 -- or one-fourth of the total Pakistan flood relief donations that had been received from Southern Baptists through September -- was raised in one night. Gifts like those received at the summit are crucial to help replenish reserves badly depleted by the Pakistan response, said Francis Horton, co-director for South Asia for Baptist Global Response. "Southern Baptists had only given $50,000 [to aid Pakistan's August flood victims], but the congregation that night gave a third of that amount," Lafferty said. "With so many people homeless, $50,000 is a drop in the bucket."
Missionary Pilot Drowns Trying to Save Teen in Indonesia
An American pilot working for a missionary agency died Sunday in a swimming accident in Indonesia while trying to save two teenagers swept away from shore in Indonesia. Mission News Network reports that Benjamin Uskert, who was training in Sumatra with mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), swam into deep water to save two teens. Uskert and one of the teens drowned in the current. "We are profoundly saddened by the loss of our friend and fellow worker in Christ, as well as the young man he was attempting to rescue," said John Boyd, president and chief executive officer of MAF, in a statement Monday. "Please pray for Ben's wife, Katie, and son, Jeremiah, as well as the other members of the family." Uskert was a pilot and mechanic who previously worked as an aircraft technician and trainer. A fund has been established to help family members of Uskert travel to Indonesia for the services.
Judge Puts Hold on Okla. Anti-Shariah Amendment
Lawyers for the Oklahoma Attorney General's office have two weeks to convince a federal judge to remove a temporary hold on a voter-approved state constitutional amendment that prohibits courts from considering Islamic law. Religion News Service reports that U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order on Monday after Muslims sued to block the referendum, which was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on Nov. 2. Muneer Awad, executive director of the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, sued to block enforcement, alleging the referendum violates First Amendment prohibitions against religious discrimination and government-supported religion. The referendum, he argued, "says Islam is so uniquely threatening to the American way of life that it needs to be singled out as dangerous in the Oklahoma constitution. That stigmatizes Muslims in Oklahoma and Muslims all over America."