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Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 31, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 31, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • For Christians in Egypt, Work Hard to Find
  • 25 Tea Party Groups Sue Obama Administration, IRS
  • Red Cross Offices Attacked in Afghanistan for First Time
  • In Eritrea, 'Persecution Greater Than Ever and Getting Worse'


For Christians in Egypt, Work Hard to Find

It's harder than ever to find a job in Egypt, where the unemployment rate has risen to a record 13 percent, Open Doors USA reports. For young Egyptians, the jobless rate is much higher. For out-of-work Christians, finding a job can be especially tough. They are 10 percent of a country where Islam is the state religion and where the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party holds the highest offices in the government. When quarreling citizens arrive at legal loggerheads, the new constitution turns to Islamic law to resolve the impasse. In the streets, kidnappings for ransom are increasing and churches are often attacked and burned. The International Monetary Fund, which is negotiating a multi-billion-dollar loan to Egypt, put the situation in diplomatic language in April: "Prolonged political and policy uncertainty, social unrest, and security problems have taken a toll on confidence. As a result, real GDP growth has remained sluggish."

25 Tea Party Groups Sue Obama Administration, IRS

A conservative watchdog group filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of 25 tea party groups against the Internal Revenue Service and Obama administration officials, POLITICO reports. The complaint, filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, alleges that the Obama administration overstepped its authority and violated the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It is the latest in the unfolding legal drama over the IRS' admitted targeting of tea party groups, a scandal that has already cost the acting head of the agency his job. "As this unconstitutional scheme continues even today, the only way to stop this flagrant and arrogant abuse of our clients' rights is to file a federal lawsuit," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. "The lawsuit sends a very powerful message to the IRS and the Obama administration -- including the White House: Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government." The suit charges that IRS and Obama administration officials "unlawfully delayed and thereby effectively denied approval of Plaintiffs' application for tax exempt status" based "solely upon Plaintiffs' political viewpoints." The suit asks federal courts to stop any further IRS abuse or retaliation; the groups are also seeking unspecified damages to be determined at trial.

Red Cross Offices Attacked in Afghanistan for First Time

Three suicide bombers attacked the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jalalabad on Wednesday, killing one security guard and wounding another, though all seven Western employees were safely evacuated. Police said a grenade was tossed into the compound, and a gun battle with the security forces followed after the attackers forced their way in. Since the ICRC established an office in Afghanistan more than 30 years ago, it has never been the target of an attack, and was even praised in a Taliban statement last June for its work delivering messages from family members to imprisoned Taliban militants. Wednesday's assault is the second time in a week that international aid workers have been targeted in Afghanistan; on Friday, several staff at the International Organization for Migration were injured in an attack in the capital, Kabul.

In Eritrea, 'Persecution Greater Than Ever and Getting Worse'

The persecution of Christians in the African country of Eritrea is at record levels and increasing, according to an Eritrean Christian leader, World Watch Monitor reports. Churches in Eritrea have been monitored closely since May 2002, when the government closed all Protestant and Pentecostal churches which did not apply for registration. Eleven years later, there is evidence of widespread human rights abuses by the Eritrean government, according to human rights organization Amnesty International. The director of Release Eritrea, a UK-based human rights organization, said there had been an "intensification" of religious persecution since January. "We can't pin it down to anything that has happened, or triggered it, but there have been lots of arrests," she said.

Publication date: May 31, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 31, 2013