Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 3, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 3, 2009

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

  • Christians Arrested for Operating Boys' Hostel in India
  • Pakistan Two Christians Arrested for Eating During Ramadan
  • Trial of Suspect in Rwandan Church Massacre Begins
  • Russian Patriarch Wants Former Gulag to Be Spiritual Center

Christians Arrested for Operating Boys' Hostel in India

Compass Direct News reports that Karnataka police accompanied by 10 Hindu extremists on Friday (Aug. 28) arrested a Christian operator of a boys' hostel. They accused the owner and another Christian of offering food, shelter, education and future job prospects to the children as an "allurement" to convert to Christianity. After Hanuma Naik's release on bail the next day, he dismissed the allegations as fabricated, saying that parents of the 42 students voluntarily sent their children, ages 6 to 19, to the hostel. The parents also had prior knowledge that Christian teachings are part of the program at the church-run hostel. The two Christians had promised the boys' parents that they would take care of all the children's needs for food, clothing and education - a potentially criminal activity under "anti-conversion" laws in force in some states, but not in Karnataka.

Pakistan: Two Christians Arrested for Eating During Ramadan

ASSIST News Service reports that Pakistani police arrested two Christians for eating during the Islamic fasting season of Ramadan in the city of Silanwali. Gull Masih and Ashir Sohail were reportedly traveling to Lahore on Aug. 25 when their bus stopped at the Bismillah Hotel to let off passengers. After the waiter served them tea and a snack, several policemen started to question them as to why they were desecrating Ramadan by eating during the Islamic fasting season. The two Christians told the police that since they are Christians, they are not supposed to fast during Ramadan. Police then marched them into a van and registered a case against them at the police station. Their case is now pending before court.

Trial of Suspect in Rwandan Church Massacre Begins

The Associated Press reports that a Rwandan man began trial Monday for allegedly massacring a church of 2,000 fellow Rwandans 15 years ago. Gaspard Kanyarukiga, an ethnic Hutu, reportedly convinced a bulldozer driver to crush the ethnic Tutsis who had sought shelter in the church during the 1994 genocide. Tutsis who survived the bulldozing were hunted down and slaughtered by armed gangs. The killings were part of 100 days of killing orchestrated by the Hutu government at the time. More than half a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered during the country-wide violence. But Kanyarukiga's trial, at the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, may take years. The tribunal has judged just 39 people in the 15 years since the genocide.

Russian Patriarch Wants Former Gulag to Be Spiritual Center

Religion News Service reports that the new patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church said he would like to see a former Soviet gulag transformed into a spiritual center. Patriarch Kirill I said his grandfather, a priest, was a prisoner in the island camp off the northern coast of Russia. The camp's cruelty was immortalized in dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book, "The Gulag Archipelago". "We believe that these sufferings and torments have strengthened the power of the Church as it grows with a divine power rather than with a human one," the Patriarch said at the Golgotha-Crucifixion Hermitage on Anzer Island, where sick Gulag prisoners were sent to die. Thousands of monks, clergy, believers, intellectuals and aristocrats whom the Bolshevik regime wanted to eliminate were sent to the island.

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