Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pope Makes Additions to Text on Islam
- Christians Attacked, Threatened in Andhra Pradesh, India
- Egyptian Christian Girl Escapes Muslim Kidnappers
- Franklin Graham on Mission to Rebuild Churches in Sudan
Pope Makes Additions to Text on Islam
The Christian Post reports that Pope Benedict XVI has taken another step to placate anger in the Islamic world over his remarks on holy war, making additions to his original text affirming that a quotation from a 14th century Byzantine emperor was not his personal opinion. The Sept. 12 speech that set off protests around the Muslim world said the pope intended to "supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes." He has done that in recent days, with the English version released on the Vatican's Web site Monday. The original speech quoted the emperor as saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." In the new version, the Pope says the emperor's comment was made with "a brusqueness that we find unacceptable." Benedict XVI has met recently with diplomats from Muslim countries, saying the two faiths must overcome historic enmities and together reject violence.
Christians Attacked, Threatened in Andhra Pradesh, India
Compass Direct News reports Hindu extremists in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh attacked at least four Christians in the last three weeks, including a beating of three Dalits and a threat to have their government benefits withdrawn. On September 29 a group of Hindu extremists barged into a church in Aluru area in Nizamabad’s district’s Armor block and manhandled pastor Kavalla Shadrak late in the evening. On September 22, a mob of about 40 people surrounded three Dalit Christians of the Good Shepherd Community Church in Nandiwaddeman village while three people, allegedly members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), beat them. When the church pastor went to the village head, Usha Anna, to report the attack, he refused to listen to him – then allegedly held a meeting with village elders to accuse him of forcibly converting the villagers. At the same time, RSS extremists allegedly threatened to kill the Christians if they continued their activities.
Egyptian Christian Girl Escapes Muslim Kidnappers
An Egyptian Christian teenager escaped her Muslim kidnappers last week hours after they had drugged her on a public bus, Compass Direct News reports. They threatened to rape her and convert her to Islam if her family did not leave their Nile Delta city of El-Mahala el-Kobra. Laurence Wagih Emil, 16, escaped the ground-floor room where she was being held in Cairo’s southern Helwan suburb at 10 p.m. last Tuesday (October 3) while her captors were away breaking their Ramadan fast. Her father, Wagih Emil, had received several threatening text messages from his daughter’s mobile phone. “Take the rest of your daughters and leave the city, or you will lose them one by one,” said one. “The girl is not accepting easily, but she will embrace Islam for sure.” Before family members recovered her, State Security Investigation officials interviewing Laurence Emil told her she would never see her parents again unless she reported a false story denying the kidnapping.
Franklin Graham on Mission to Rebuild Churches in Sudan
According to an Associated Press report, Franklin Graham plans to rebuild hundreds of burned churches and maintain a hospital in Sudan despite the anti-Christian violence that's occurred during his years of ministry there. Graham, who heads the international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, said he wants to rebuild every church that the government has burned in Sudan, currently numbered at 226. 34 are currently being rebuilt. Graham estimated the cost of the rebuilding at $5 million, which includes bringing in Christian pastors from Arab-speaking countries for one-month stays.