Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- S. Korean Churches Urge Prayers after N. Korean Attack
- Afghan Convert's Trial Faces Delays
- China Blocks Religious Scholar from Leaving Country
S. Korean Churches Urge Prayers after N. Korean Attack
Following North Korea's attack on a small South Korean island, church leaders in South Korea are asking for prayer. Tuesday's attack killed several people, including two civilians, and injured more than a dozen people. According to The Christian Post, the act of aggression was the first direct artillery attack on South Korean territory since the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement. U.S. officials have urged restraint in any response, but South Korean President Lee Myung-bak voiced a different approach. "I think enormous retaliation is going to be necessary to make North Korea incapable of provoking us again," he said, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. The Christian Council of Korea's general secretary, the Rev. Kim Woon-Tae, said he couldn't help but feel shocked and worried after hearing the news. Kim said he is praying for stability, peace and cooperation.
Afghan Convert's Trial Faces Delays
An Afghan convert to Christianity remains in prison while authorities argue whether the man should be judged according to Islamic law. Christian Today reports that Said Musa, 45, an amputee, has no legal representation and doesn't even know the charges against him. Persecution watchdogs say he was imprisoned in May after his conversion and baptism were broadcast on television, sparking outrage in the Muslim country. A letter penned by Musa was recently sneaked out of the country and distributed to Christian leaders. The letter is addressed to the global church, US President Barack Obama and the heads of NATO's International Security Assistance Forces. "I am alone between 400 of terrible wolves in the jail, like a sheep," he wrote in broken English. He asked repentance for his public denial of faith and implored Christians to pray for him, saying, "otherwise they will kill me."
China Blocks Religious Scholar from Leaving Country
Chinese authorities on Friday blocked a well-known Chinese scholar on world religions from leaving the country to attend an academic conference. According to ChinaAid, He Guanghu, a senior professor at People's University (Renmin University), was stopped by security agents as he attempted to board a plane to Singapore. Authorities said his trip could pose a national security threat, employing the same tactics that last month prevented more than 200 Chinese Christians from attending the Third Lausanne Conference in South Africa. "A rising big country like China with such a low level of self confidence in its citizens' basic rights is contrary to China's long-term goal to be a great country," said ChinaAid Founder Bob Fu. "Both the Chinese citizens and the international community should hold the Chinese government accountable for its illegal behavior."