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Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 7, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 7, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Italy: Major Earthquake Leaves 100 Dead
  • Four Christians Killed in Two Days in Iraq
  • Hundreds Rally against Notre Dame's Obama Invite
  • Zimbabwe: Emergency Aid Sent to Quell Starvation

Italy: Major Earthquake Leaves 100 Dead

CNN reports that at least 100 are dead after 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on Monday. More than 1,500 were injured and thousands are homeless in historic L'Aquila and neighboring towns. Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said 1,500 rescuers were heading to the region to assist with efforts to dig out survivors still trapped under debris, while early rescuers dug with their bare hands. Italy's Prime Minister said a tent city will be set up to accommodate survivors. "The fundamental thing I want to say is that nobody will be left alone," Silvio Berlusconi said at a news conference. Although quakes are relatively common in the area, Monday's quake was the most deadly since 1980.

Four Christians Killed in Two Days in Iraq

ASSIST News Service reports that four Iraqi Christians were recently killed in Baghdad and Kirkuk. According to Christian human rights organization International Christian Concern (ICC), the perpetrators are as yet unknown, but Islamic fundamentalists, criminal gangs and other armed groups have been behind attacks against Christians in Iraq in the past. “The killing of four innocent people within the last two days has put a renewed fear in our hearts. What is important is to keep these continuous atrocities in the media and on the policy makers' radars. What we need is a more safe and secure Iraq for all Iraqi's, especially for the Christians who have faced ethno-religious cleansing,” said Julian Taimoorazy, president of Iraqi Christian Relief Council, in an interview with ICC.

Hundreds Rally against Notre Dame's Obama Invite

Christian Post reports that pro-life and religious groups continue to protest the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama as the school's commencement speaker. An estimated 400 students, alumni and pro-life activists met after Palm Sunday Mass to signify their disagreement outside the campus administration building. "We feel it's a betrayal of the Catholic identity that Notre Dame was founded on," John Daly, media coordinator of the ND Response coalition. "We feel it would be a great disrespect to the office of the president to ask for the White House to rescind an invitation they already accepted. However, the university has yet to give the honorary degree," he said.

Zimbabwe: Emergency Aid Sent to Quell Starvation

Mission News Network reports that the global food crisis has hit famine-stricken Zimbabwe particularly hard. The country has not experienced good harvests since 2000, leaving weakened citizens even more vulnerable to outbreaks of cholera. An estimated 5.1 million people in the country face starvation. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and the Canadian government have pledged $7 million to aid programs in Zimbabwe. Aid groups hope that the tenuous unified government will hold together, allowing food distribution projects to go forward, hopefully to be completed by month's end. Christian Care Zimbabwe manages food distribution, and notes that many recipients face the double hardships of hunger HIV/AIDS infection.