Religion Today Summaries - October 25, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 25, 2004

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

Pakistan: Abducted Pastor Recovers After Being Released
Lao Pastor Arrested for Conducting Worship Service
Hindu 'Re-conversions' Continue in India 
Nigeria: Flood Destroys Church Building, Home for Elderly

Pakistan: Abducted Pastor Recovers After Being Released
Charisma News Service

A pastor in the northern region of Sindh Province is recovering after being kidnapped, drugged and beaten severely last month by Muslims. Yousaf Masih, 33, was abducted near his home on Sept. 12 and held hostage for two days before his captors dumped him along a road nearly 600 miles away, Compass Direct reported. His abductors ordered Masih to stop "praying for Muslims" in his Baptist church in Jacobabad. Married with two young children, Masih is undergoing treatment for his injuries. He is the second Protestant pastor kidnapped and tortured by Islamist extremists within the past four months. Elsewhere, a court in Faisalabad has sentenced a mentally handicapped Christian to life in prison. On Sept. 25, Shahbaz Masih, 26, was found guilty of blasphemy against the Quran, despite medical evidence of his manic-depressive condition, Compass reported. A Pakistan penal code prohibits the conviction of a person who suffers "unsoundness of mind," Masih's lawyer Khalil Tahir said. Muslim cleric Qari Mohammed Rafiq accused Masih of tearing up leaflets containing verses from the Quran and scattering them at a shrine near Faisalabad. Tahir plans to appeal the sentence. Meanwhile, a court earlier this month issued a warrant for the arrest of a Muslim father who abducted his two small children from their Christian mother, Compass reported. On Sept. 13, Joshua, 5, and Miriam, 3, were taken by Abdul Ghaffar from the Lahore Family Court shortly after beginning a two-hour court-supervised visitation session. Seven years ago, the children's mother, Maria Samar John, then 17, was kidnapped and forcibly married to Ghaffar. (http://www.charismanow.com)

Lao Pastor Arrested for Conducting Worship Service
Christian Aid

On Tuesday, October 19th, at around 5:00 PM, a native pastor in southern Laos was arrested. Mr. Bouthao was taken into custody by Phin district police for conducting a worship service for 300 believers in his house in Saythamoung village, Phin district, Savannakhet province. Mr. Bouthao has been holding church meetings in his home for almost 2 years. The arrest was ordered by the head policemen of the Phin district office. Pray that the believers will not be scattered and that God would use this opportunity to bring more to Himself. Pray for the family of Mr. Bouthao, and also please pray that God would provide the right people to bring this unlawful incident to the attention of Lao authorities.

Hindu 'Re-conversions' Continue in India
Satya Kumar, Compass Direct

At least 336 tribal Christians were "re-converted" to Hinduism in a mass ceremony organized by the World Hindu Council in Orissa, India, on October 17. Gauri Prasad Rath, state secretary of the Council, said it was the largest re-conversion ceremony they had ever held. Christian leaders expressed shock and dismay at the news. "This is nothing but a vicious and hostile hate campaign," said John Dayal, General Secretary of the All India Christian Council. "What is this thing called 're-conversion?' The church says man cannot make anybody change his faith. It's for you to make up your mind." Meanwhile, Rath insisted the re-conversion drives would continue until missionaries stopped evangelizing tribal groups in Orissa.

Nigeria: Flood Destroys Church Building, Home for Elderly
Christian Aid

Flash flooding in the southern Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom has severely damaged a church building and associated home for the elderly, according to the leader of an indigenous ministry supported by Christian Aid. He says rains in Akwa Ibom this season have been particularly heavy, causing flooding throughout the state. Though he and fellow believers fought to keep waters at bay around the church and home buildings, they were overwhelmed. Waters inundated the church and parsonage, ruining much property and causing part of the church building to collapse. Of special concern are the elderly people living in the nearby home, who are suffering lack of housing and care after their building was flooded. The ministry is striving to relocate them. Relief from heavy rains has not come as hoped in recent weeks. Please pray for gospel workers and for elderly folks who were living in the home, that they may recover from this disaster. To give to support them, write [email protected] and put MI-529 550-BAN on the subject line.

 

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