Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani Issued Retrial
- State Department: Christian Churches in Afghanistan Have Vanished
- Sweden Seeks to Terminate Parenthood over Homeschooling
- Chinese Pro-Life Activist Feared Dead
Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani Issued Retrial
Reports released yesterday indicate that Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been issued a retrial in Iran, Mission Network News reports. He was set to be executed any day for refusing to recant his faith, but it appears he may have another chance. After much international attention, several petitions and numerous leaders speaking out worldwide, the court has not only ordered a retrial but is also seeing the opinion of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's spiritual leader and highest authority, on Nadarkhani's case. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice believes it is a direct result of the international pressure applied to the Iranian government.
State Department: Christian Churches in Afghanistan Have Vanished
According to the U.S. State Department, there is not a single public Christian church left in Afghanistan, CNS News reports. The last church was destroyed in March 2010, and there are no Christian schools remaining either. The State Department's annual report on religious freedom states: "The [Afghan] government's level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals. Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity. The lack of government responsiveness and protection ... contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom."
Sweden Seeks to Terminate Parenthood over Homeschooling
Swedish officials on the island of Gotland are seeking to terminate the parental rights of Christer and Annie Johansson, whose 9-year-old son was seized by the state two years ago for being homeschooled and has been in foster care ever since, the Christian Newswire reports. Domenic Johansson was taken by Swedish police from an airplane in June 2009 and his family has been denied virtually any contact with him. The Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defense Fund have been working to bring attention to the case and encourage the Swedish government to release Domenic back to his family. "The government shouldn't abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn't like homeschooling," said ADF legal counsel Roger Kiska. "That's bad enough. But now the state is going even further by attempting to get the parents out of the way altogether. This simply cannot stand."
Chinese Pro-Life Activist Feared Dead
An international coalition that opposes China's one-child policy is highly concerned about whether a blind Chinese human rights activist is still alive, OneNewsNow.com reports. Self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng served four brutal years in jail for exposing hundreds of thousands of forced abortions and sterilizations in China before being put under house arrest and repeatedly tortured, along with his wife, by police. Women's Rights Without Frontiers, a pro-life, anti-forced-abortion group that partnered with Guangcheng, received word that he had been killed during a government shootout, but has yet to verify the report because his village was shut down by authorities.
Publication date: October 13, 2011