Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 15, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 15, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • U.N. Says Access to Birth Control is Universal Human Right
  • Hamas Military Commander Killed in Israeli Airstrike
  • India: Hindu Extremists Beat Pastor Unconscious, Then Attack Him in Hospital
  • Indonesia Church Faces Radical Muslim Mob Once Again


U.N. Says Access to Birth Control is Universal Human Right

The United Nations says access to contraception is a universal human right that could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in poor countries, reports. It is the first time the U.N. Population Fund's annual report has explicitly described birth control as a human right, effectively declaring that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women's rights. The U.N. also stated that increasing funding for family planning by a further $4.1 billion could save $11.3 billion annually for health bills for mothers and newborns in poor countries.

Hamas Military Commander Killed in Israeli Airstrike

Ahmed Jabari, head of the military wing of Hamas, was killed Wednesday in an air strike in Gaza by the Israeli Air Force, CBN News reports. Three others, including his son, were reportedly killed. Jabari, a senior commander with the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, helped plan the June 2006 kidnapping of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and had vowed to abduct more soldiers to use for bargaining in prisoner swaps. Jabari was in charge of coordinating relations between Hamas, al Qaeda and Islamic jihad and was also behind the rocket attacks that began last weekend. IDF Maj. Gen. (ret.) Israel Ziv, former head of IDF operations, said the operation that began Wednesday, called Operation Pillar of Defense, sends a "very clear message to Hamas" that Israel is unwilling to continue with a situation that has taken so many Israeli citizens hostage. "I'm sure it's a big shock to the Hamas to get such a hit," Ziv said. "Definitely for them it's a kind of declaration of war." An IDF spokesman said the operation was rapidly escalating and the Israeli Air Force targeted 20 missile storage sites throughout Gaza. Hamas confirmed the news on its satellite TV channel, vowing to retaliate in "calculated attacks" and warning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would regret the operation.

India: Hindu Extremists Beat Pastor Unconscious, Then Attack Him in Hospital

Hindu extremists in Kannur village in Karnataka, India, beat a pastor unconscious by the side of the road, then attacked him in his hospital bed the next day, Compass Direct News reports. Pastor John Samuel Kim was standing on the road with three friends Oct. 11 when a mob of 20 extremists began questioning him, then accused him of forceful conversion and began kicking and punching him and beating him with sticks and stones. Kim was knocked unconscious, and was hospitalized with a broken rib and injuries to his head and neck. The next morning, four attackers entered his hospital ward. "They told me that I should die, shook my bed and started to beat me again, and strangled me on my neck and brought a sharp weapon to cut my neck," said Kim, who suffered a severe neck injury. The attackers left when they heard people coming, and Kim later provided a description to police, who posted guard on the ward for the next seven days as he recovered. The police have registered a case against the attackers, but no arrests have been made. The district police superintendent said he and his team would continue to protect Kim whenever necessary, and that they continue to search for the attackers. It is the second attack on Kim within the past year; he did not file a police complaint after he was beaten up the first time.

Indonesia Church Faces Radical Muslim Mob Once Again

Muslim protesters again blocked a Protestant church from holding Sunday services in front of their place of worship in West Java, Indonesia, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. A spokesman for the the Batak Society Christian Church of Philadelphia said the congregation had to call off the service after scores of protesters gathered to stop them from worshipping. "They were there an hour or so before we were to start our service," said the Rev. Palti Panjaitan. "They brought loudspeakers and played very loud music. They also threatened us." Panjaitan said he tried to reason with the protesters, who included women and children, but to no avail. Police who were there told the church to "cancel the service to prevent any violence," Panjaitan said. "By doing so, however, they violated our constitutional right." According to International Christian Concern, the church has regularly faced opposition from radical Islamist groups despite having all the necessary permits to operate. It received international media coverage in May when a mob threw bags of urine and other objects at the congregation.

Publication date: November 15, 2012