Religion Today Summaries, November 18, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 18, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Bush Rejects Critical Comments of Islam by Christian Leaders
  • Pat Robertson Stands by Remarks on Islam, Says Koran is Clear on These Teachings
  • Islamic Sharia Law Continues to Mean Extreme Persecution for Christians in Nigeria
  • Girl Meets Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Recipient Under Unique Circumstances

Bush Rejects Critical Comments of Islam by Christian Leaders
Tom Strode

(Baptists Press) President Bush has attempted to distance himself from some prominent Christian leaders' descriptions of Islam as a violent and evil religion.  Some statements about Islam "do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans," Bush told reporters at the White House Nov. 13.  "Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others.  Ours is a country based upon tolerance ... and we welcome people of all faiths in America.  And we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values."  Speaking prior to a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Bush also said the "war against terror is a war against individuals whose hearts are full of hate.  We do not fight a religion."  Among conservative Christian leaders who have attacked Islam's teachings or practices since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Muslim terrorists are Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham.  Bush's remarks came two days after the latest public criticism of Islam was expressed in televised comments by Robertson.

Pat Robertson Stands by Remarks on Islam, Says Koran is Clear on These Teachings

(AgapePress) There will be no apology from Pat Robertson over his remarks this week accusing Muslims of "being worse than the Nazis."  On Robertson's TV program earlier this week, he said Muslims are bent on exterminating Jews and cited passages from the Koran that liken Jews to "apes" and "pigs."  As Robertson put it, "Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse."  When President Bush was asked about the comments on Wednesday, he denounced them by saying they do not reflect the sentiments of his government or the sentiments of most Americans.  Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell went even further than the president, referring to such anti-Islam remarks as "hatred."  But despite the White House chastisement, Robertson says he is standing by his comments about what the Koran teaches -- and he challenged the media and others to check it out for themselves.  The only clarification Robertson offered is that he does not believe U.S. Muslims are violent.

Islamic Sharia Law Continues to Mean Extreme Persecution for Christians in Nigeria

(Charisma News Service) A Christian whose father converted to Islam was recently raped after being forced to marry a Muslim.  According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Rakiya, 20, and her sister Dije, from Bilkawa in Kano State, have been a Christians for 10 years, but their father became a Muslim five years ago. Since the introduction of Islamic law Sharia in Kano State, he was told that his daughters could not remain Christians.  Rakiya was forced to marry, and shortly after was raped by four men.  Dije has been able to go into hiding, but the plight of the two sisters is not an unusual occurrence in areas that are predominantly Muslim, CSW said.  "The spread of sharia law in the northern and central states of Nigeria has terrible human consequences for all, but particularly for those who are not Muslim," CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said.  "The forcible marriage and rape of Rakiya and the fear of her sister in hiding are due to a religious law being implemented on those over whom it should have no legal jurisdiction.  We call on the Nigerian government to uphold the country's constitution and to prevent more injustice and inter-religious tension from spreading."

Girl Meets Operation Christmas Child Recipient Under Unique Circumstances
Michael Ireland

(Assist News Service) A girl in Connecticut was blessed recently when she received a first-hand thank you for her shoe box gift to Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child run by his Samaritan's Purse ministry organization.  As the girl and her father filled the box with toys and gifts, they prayed that it would have a very special meaning and bring joy to the girl receiving it.  They talked about how wonderful it would be to see the face of the girl that would receive their box.  In March, 2002, she spotted a girl at her school in Connecticut with a notebook that looked like the one she had placed in the shoe box. She asked the girl where she got the notebook.  Her response was that she had gotten it in a Christmas box while she was in an orphanage in Nicaragua.  "The girl had been recently adopted and placed in her class.  This is one of the finest examples of how God answers the prayers that surround Operation Christmas Child," said Dave Jacob, OCC representative in the Twin Cities.  Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed more than 18.5 million shoe box gifts to children who suffer from war, disease, poverty, famine, and natural disaster in 120 countries.  Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes are being collected now! National Collection Week is November 18 - 25.  To find a drop-off site near you call 1-800-353-5949 or visit