Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 11, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 11, 2009

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

  • Mastermind of Church Bombing in Nepal Arrested
  • Mission Strategist: New Focus Should Be on 4/14 Window
  • U.S. Survey: Americans More Sympathetic to Islam
  • Sudanese Journalist Freed after Being Fined for Wearing Pants

Mastermind of Church Bombing in Nepal Arrested

Compass Direct News reports that Ram Prasad Mainali, head of the terrorist organization that bombed one of Nepal's oldest churches in May, has been arrested along with three accomplices. Mainali, 36, gained fame after the little-known underground organization he headed, the Nepal Defense Army, claimed responsibility for the May 23 bombing. Two women and a schoolgirl were killed and more than a dozen people were injured. Two weeks later, police arrested a 27-year-old woman who planted the bomb in the prayer hall of the Catholic Assumption Church, but the suspected mastermind remained elusive. Police arrested Mainali on Saturday (Sept. 5) in Biratnagar. Christians fear Mainali and his accomplices could be released soon, either because of legal loopholes or due to the culture of impunity pervading Nepal.

Mission Strategist: New Focus Should Be on 4/14 Window

Christian Today reports that Christian mission strategist who coined the term the "10/40 Window" is encouraging mission groups to shift their focus to the "4/14 Window." Luis Bush, international facilitator of Transform World Connections, says the new term does not refer to a geographical location of the world as the first term did. Instead, it describes a demographic frame - children and teens between the ages of four and 14. "There is a recognition that we are losing the children of the world spiritually," Bush told The Christian Post on Tuesday, the last day of the Transform World Conference on the 4/14 Window in New York. "So this becomes a very critical moment to aim lower at the 4 to 14 [age] as the beginning place and come back to there with significant concentration."

U.S. Survey: Americans More Sympathetic to Islam

USA Today reports that Americans today are less likely than they were in 2007 to believe that Islam is a violent religion, as knowledge of Islam continues to rise in America. A new study by the Pew Research Center also shows that Americans believe Muslims face more discrimination than any other group except the gay population. "To say that Muslims are discriminated against ... it's not the same thing as expressing an unfavorable view of Muslims. In fact it's just the opposite," said Greg Smith, the report's senior researcher. "People who are most sympathetic to a group are more likely to see that group as being discriminated against." In 2007, 45 percent of Americans believe that Islam was more likely to encourage violence than other religions. That percentage fell to 38 percent this year.

Sudanese Journalist Freed after Being Fined for Wearing Pants

Religion News Service reports that Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein is free again after serving just one night of a 30-day sentence for wearing pants in public. Hussein, 43, walked out of a Khartoum prison Tuesday (Sept. 8) was sentenced after she refused to pay $200 fine imposed by an Islamic court for violating government decency laws. A journalists' union paid the fine. Hussein and 12 other women were arrested by Sudan's public order police in July for wearing trousers at a Khartoum reception hall. Most of the women accepted the punishment of 10 lashes and a $100 fine. But Hussein said the government statutes, derived from Islamic law, were in fact un-Islamic, and vowed to fight the charges. The case caused international outrage and sparked demonstrations in Khartoum, where protesters supporting Hussein clashed with police.