Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 23, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 23, 2006

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

  • Militants Kill Prominent Christian Worker in India
  • Drunken Mob Vandalizes Church in Pakistan
  • Mobs Attack More Churches in Sri Lanka
  • Brazilian Missionary Murdered in East Timor

Militants Kill Prominent Christian Worker in India

Two unidentified militants killed a Christian convert from Islam on a busy road in Mamoosa village, Barmullah district, in the terror-stricken state of Jammu and Kashmir. Compass Direct News reports Bashir Ahmed Tantray, a 50-year-old engineer, was shot dead apparently by Islamist militants as he stood at a busy bus stand near his parents’ house in Mamoosa, a local Christian source told Compass. Tantray, who had accepted Christianity about a decade ago and had been an active Christian worker ever since, is survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons. Newspapers had mentioned Tantray’s name in “false and exaggerated reports” relating to “conversion activities” by Christian organizations in 2003, the source said. “There is no doubt among the people, both Christian and Muslim, here that he was killed because of his identity of a Christian worker,” he said.

Drunken Mob Vandalizes Church in Pakistan

Armed and drunken Muslims struck two greeters at a Sunday evening service of a church outside Lahore last week, later returning to pelt the building with stones and bricks. Led by Zulifiqar Akbar Jutt and Asif Ramzan, 10 men broke fluorescent lights and a cross on the outer gate of the Talab Sarai village Nazarene church on November 12, a Lahore-based human rights organization reported. Pastor Rafiq Masih told the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) that the Muslim men began to hit greeters who had earlier stopped them from harassing Christian women; the congregation of about 40 families quickly came out of the church, halting the attackers, Compass Direct News reports. The Muslim men “had every intention to use the firearms,” CLAAS coordinator Wasim Muntizar told Compass. “But because the Christians didn’t respond angrily, the situation did not get worse.”

Mobs Attack More Churches in Sri Lanka

Compass Direct News reports Buddhist militants attacked two church services in Sri Lanka on November 12 and hit Christian workers returning from a funeral. In the first church attack, a mob of some 100 people, including four Buddhist monks, pasted anti-Christian posters in the neighborhood of an Assembly of God church in Yakkala, Gampaha district, and blocked the road leading to the church. Four days later, as a young Christian woman arrived at the pastor’s house asking for prayer, a nearby man doused her with a container of burnt oil. In the second church attack, a mob of about 35 people – including 12 Buddhist monks and a local government official – walked into the Sunday service of the Mizpah Prayer Ministry in Nawalapitiya, Kandy district, demanding that the service cease immediately. “We were threatened that if we gathered together for worship again, the building would be flattened,” the local pastor said.

Brazilian Missionary Murdered in East Timor

According to an ASSIST News Service report, a Brazilian missionary was murdered in Dili, as new fighting flared in the capital of East Timor late on Sunday, Nov.19. This news was released by SVM News Service in which it reported that a statement from the prime minister's office in East Timor, Southeast Asia's newest nation, said the victim is a protestant missionary of the Assemblies of God named Edgar Goncalves Brito, 32. They did not elaborate on how he died. Donna Cusumano, the U.N. spokeswoman confirmed the death but could give no more details on the incident. “The U.N. police are gathering up the details, the investigation is ongoing at the moment,” she said. A source close to the Brazilian embassy confirmed the man died about 8 pm local time (2200 AEDT) and said the victim's body had been taken to a clinic in the suburb of Bairro Pite. Eyewitness Elizabete da Silva said she saw the man die as a mob attacked his car and killed him as he was driving near East Timor's main hospital in Dili. “He was our neighbor. I saw them stop his car, drag him out and cut his throat,” she said.