Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 30, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 30, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Christian Areas of Aleppo Invaded by Syrian Opposition Forces
  • Al Qaeda Leader Urges Jihadists to Kidnap Westerners, Join Syrian Uprising
  • Prayer Group Pitches Tent on White House Lawn
  • Nigeria: Catholic Church in Kaduna Hit in Suicide Bomb Attack


Christian Areas of Aleppo Invaded by Syrian Opposition Forces

A humanitarian group has received an urgent prayer request from its partners in Syria for Christians in the city of Aleppo, whose major residential areas have been invaded by opposition fighters, ASSIST News Service reports. According to Barnabas Aid, on Thursday the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its allies entered the Christian district of al-Syriaan al-Jadide and put two checkpoints in front of a Baptist church building. They also took over a locla Christian school. The other main Christian district, al-Syriaan al-Qadime, has also fallen to the opposition. Snipers have been positioned on the roofs on both areas. Meanwhile, FSA groups have also attacked the al-Zukhur district of Aleppo, which is hope to many of the mainly Christian Armenian community. Barnabas Aid said it appears Aleppo is now largely in the hands of the opposition. Clashes with government forces are still being reported, but the regime may now be abandoning the city. "Pray for Christians in Aleppo, both during the fighting and afterwards," Barnabas Aid said. "The opposition generally regards them as government supporters, and some Islamists will attack them simply for being Christians."

Al Qaeda Leader Urges Jihadists to Kidnap Westerners, Join Syrian Uprising

Al Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners in exchange for the release of captured terrorists, CBN News reports. Captured Westerners could be used to negotiate for the release of imprisoned jihadists, like the blind Egyptian sheikh who plotted the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, he said in a two-hour video posted to jihadist websites. "This is the only language which they understand," he said. "We will keep on seizing more ... until we free our captives." Al-Zawahri also urged jihadists to join the uprising to take over Syria, and called for the implementation of sharia (Islamic law) in Egypt. Al-Zawahri, who was born in Egypt, got his start in radical Islam through the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which is now in charge of that country.

Prayer Group Pitches Tent on White House Lawn

As America prepares for the presidential election, a group of Christians have pitched a tent on the White House lawn to intercede for the country 24 hours a day, CBN News reports. Jason Hershey, founder of David's Tent, said he felt God leading him to "do what King David did ... get the presence by the palace in the capital city." The tent, which has been set up since late September, will remain on the White House lawn through Election Day, Nov. 6. According to protocol, President Obama would not be unaware of their presence. "The Parks Service has assured us that this close to the White House they absolutely are required to report to the president everything that happens here," Hershey said, adding that the goal of the prayer tent is not political. "In a time of great debate about which way is this country heading, we want to put a big target on Jesus and say, 'Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to you as well,'" he said.

Nigeria: Catholic Church in Kaduna Hit in Suicide Bomb Attack

At least seven people were killed and dozens were injured in a suicide bombing Sunday (Oct. 28) during Mass at a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, ASSIST News Service reports. An explosive-laden vehicle drove into St. Rita's Catholic Church in the Malali area of Kaduna and detonated, ripping a hole in the wall and roof. One local hospital said Sunday it was treating 14 wounded, and another hospital was treating 84 victims. According to the BBC, "The vehicle had been stopped at the security gate outside the church. The driver initially reversed, but then careened straight through the church wall and detonated the bomb. Members of the choir are thought to be among the dead and injured." Kaduna, the dividing line between Nigeria's majority-Muslim north and majority-Christian south, has been targeted by the Islamic militant sect Boko Haram as the group fights to create an Islamic state and implement sharia (Islamic law). At least 2,800 people have died in fighting since Boko Haram's insurrection began in 2009.

Publication date: October 30, 2012