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Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 18, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 18, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Chen Guangcheng May Soon Have Passport, Be Able to Leave China
  • Iranian Official Calls for 'Islamic Awakening' to Destroy Israel
  • Abortion Groups Alarmed at Growing Pro-Life Support
  • Nigerian Reverend Warns of Impending Jihad


Chen Guangcheng May Soon Have Passport, Be Able to Leave China

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has reportedly completed passport applications and has been told by Chinese officials that passports will be issued to him and his immediate family within two weeks -- which would then allow him to come to the United States, NPR reports. The blind activist, who spent six days in the U.S. embassy last month after fleeing house arrest, said officials helped him fill out the forms on Wednesday at the Beijing hospital where he is staying and being treated for a foot injury suffered during his escape. Chen wants to leave China because he fears for his family's safety, and he has been offered a fellowship at a U.S. university. The 41-year-old self-trained lawyer was imprisoned and tortured for more than four years for fighting China's one-child policy and exposing more than 100,000 forced abortions, then held under house arrest for 20 more months before escaping April 22. "I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all those who care and love my family and myself and our situation," Chen said through a translator via phone to a House congressional panel on May 15. "I'm not a hero. I am just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent. I cannot be quiet when facing this evil against women and children. This is what I should do."

Iranian Official Calls for 'Islamic Awakening' to Destroy Israel

An Iranian official called this week for an "Islamic Awakening" movement to help Palestinian Authority Arabs "demolish the Zionist regime," Israel National News reports. The comments were made at a conference in Tehran on Nakba Day -- "the day of catastrophe" -- which is what Arabs call May 15, the date Israel was re-established as a state in 1948. The official, Hossein Sheikholeslam, said in a brief address at the end of the conference: "In success of a revolution, three major factors need to play effective roles, and they are the people, the leadership and the school of thought, or ideology. If we wish success for the Palestinians, the existence of these three factors is necessary, as they did exist in the case of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. ... In the near future, the Islamic Awakening movement [will] also swallow the Zionist regime." Another speaker at the conference, Salah Zawawi, the Palestinian Authority ambassador in Tehran, said the one and only way to "soothe the Arabs' pains and agony" was the annihilation of Israel.

Abortion Groups Alarmed at Growing Pro-Life Support

Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, announced this week she is stepping down amid concerns of a lack of abortion support among young voters, CBN News reports. Pro-life groups see Keenan's decision as proof of a growing revolution against abortion in America. "The actual abortions, babies losing their lives, will probably decrease in this generation," said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. Donovan cited a recent NARAL survey that found 51 percent of pro-life voters age 30 or younger feel abortion is a very important issue for them at the polls, while only 26 of pro-choice voters feel so strongly. "You have to give [NARAL] a little bit of credit for releasing this information," Donovan said. "They're obviously alarmed. We're basically seeing twice the intensity among pro-lifers than among young pro-choice voters." Donovan said pro-lifers were a crucial part of turning 15 state legislatures conservative in 2010, which has resulted in a huge wave of new anti-abortion laws across the country. The first quarter of 2012, 75 pro-life bills made their way through at least one chamber of a state legislature, he said, and 91 pro-life bills became law last year.

Nigerian Reverend Warns of Impending Jihad

The president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), the Rev. Dr. Soja Joseph Bewarang, accused Nigerian leaders of failing to curtail the insurgence of Boko Haram Islamists and warned that they may end up being consumed by the terrorists if nothing is done, the Nigerian Tribune reportsBewarang said Nigerian leaders were more interested in using their power and money to help themselves instead of protecting citizens, particularly Christians in the north. He said Nigeria was facing a jihad, targeted at eliminating Christians and Christianity, and that the act was becoming bolder by the day because of the government's failure to stop the attacks. Boko Haram has killed almost 500 people this year alone, most of them Christians, in an attempt to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria with sharia as the law of the land; Christian leaders continue to call upon the government for protection.

Publication date: May 18, 2012