Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Beijing to Build Religious Worship Center in Olympic Village
- Turkey’s Christians Face Ongoing Intimidation
- Christian Twins in Egypt Forced to ‘Become’ Muslim
- London 'Segregated by Religion'
Beijing to Build Religious Worship Center in Olympic Village
Organizers of the Beijing 2008 Olympics say they plan to build a multi-faith worship center in the Olympic Village, The Canadian Press reports. The decision is striking in a country that heavily restricts religious activity. "All will be arranged in accordance with the practices... adopted by other Olympic host cities," said Liu Bainian, vice-president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The Communist Party-controlled CCPA governs China's Catholic churches, while other state-controlled bodies keep watch over the country's Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, and Protestants. Judaism is not officially recognized. Worship is illegal in China is non-state-recognized churches and temples.
Turkey’s Christians Face Ongoing Intimidation
Police in Turkey’s western city of Izmit have arrested a man who set a fire early yesterday morning at the entrance of the local Protestant church and then shot off his pistol several times, Compass Direct News reports. The church’s pastor is the brother-in-law of one of the converts to Christianity murdered in Malatya in April and has been targeted by Islamic extremists. Identified by police authorities as Semih Sahin, the man who set fire to the church entrance reportedly told interrogators that he had been “bothered” by what he heard and read in the newspapers about the Izmit Protestant Church, so he wanted to “make a scene” to arouse public attention against it. On Saturday September 1, the Legal Committee of the Alliance of Protestant Churches of Turkey issued a report saying that the past year has seen “scores of threats or attacks on congregations and church buildings.”
Christian Twins in Egypt Forced to 'Become' Muslim
Compass Direct News reports that an Egyptian court on Monday September 3 adjourned the hearing of young Christian twins legally forced to take Islamic education after their estranged father became Muslim. Mario and Andrew Medhat Ramsis unwillingly “became” Muslim after their father converted to Islam and used his legal right to change the religion on their birth certificates. The boys’ mother discovered that they had been placed in Islamic education classes at school to reflect their father’s choice, though the Muslim man was no longer living with his Christian family since his conversion and remarriage in 2002. The Ramsis twins’ future hinges on whether the court applies civil law, which allows them to remain with their mother, or certain interpretations of Islamic law, which stipulate that children belong to whichever parent is Muslim.
London 'Segregated by Religion'
A report from The Press Association states: "Britain's capital city is far more segregated on religious grounds than by race, new research revealed. Dramatic maps produced by academics at the University of East London showed the capital has become a patchwork of religious enclaves, with minority religions making up 80% of the population in some areas. Only 3% of London's seven million residents live in areas classed as racially segregated, but 25% live in religiously segregated neighborhoods."