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Religion Today Summaries - April 17, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 17, 2006

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

  • Turkey Bars German Christians
  • Christian Leader in Stocks in Laos
  • Rajasthan State Anti-Conversion Bill Potentially ‘Explosive’
  • 'Muslim Woman Can Marry a Christian or a Jew'

Turkey Bars German Christians

Denied a work permit for being a “threat for the national security,” a German Christian believes that his family’s openly Christian activities prompted Turkey to label them missionaries and deny them entrance in February, Compass Direct reports. Alex Eisele, his wife Jutta and their two children Sarah and Joshua were refused entry into Turkey on February 4 after making a routine trip to northern Cyprus to renew their three-month tourist visas. The German family said that they have been singled out often for their Christian activities, even receiving several threatening text messages on their cell phones.

Christian Leader in Stocks in Laos

Christian Aid was informed that on March 31st the chief of Tabeng village, Savava province, Laos, ordered Mr. Lapao, a.k.a. Tao Adern, to sign an affidavit to recant his Christian faith. Mr. Lapao refused to sign it. Thus, on April 1st District authorities arrested Mr. Lapao and put him in prison. He has been held in hand and foot stocks since the 1st of April. Mr. Lapao is a native of Hueyhoy Nua village, Savannakhet Province. He married a lady in Tabeng village and settled there. There are four families in Tabeng village that are also believers. Two of the four Christian families were expelled from the village. The other two families still remain in the village, but their fate is uncertain. One of the family members, a young man, is being held and interrogated by the district authorities. In Christian families when the husband is arrested, the wife and family are often left behind with no income. Christian Aid has contact with indigenous mission groups that are able to help missionary families as funds become available.

Rajasthan State Anti-Conversion Bill Potentially ‘Explosive’

A Compass Direct story states an anti-conversion bill passed by the Rajasthan state assembly Friday April 7 is unconstitutional and could lead to an “explosive situation” in the state, Christians say. Religious tensions in the state are already high following the arrest of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, president of Emmanuel Mission International, on March 16. Thomas is charged with hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. “In the context of the ongoing harassment of Christians in Kota district, Rajasthan, the anti-conversion law will lead to an explosive situation,” Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, told Compass.

'Muslim Woman Can Marry a Christian or a Jew'

A leader of the opposition Popular Congress party of Sudan, Hassan al-Turabi, has said that a Muslim woman can marry a Christian or a Jew, according to an ASSIST News Service story. Turabi made the statement, which is likely to be perceived as iconoclastic by many Muslim religious scholars across the globe, in a lecture entitled “The Role of Women in Just Governance” at the headquarters of Ummah. Hassan al-Turabi described barring a Muslim woman from marrying a Christian or a Jew as misguided teaching intended to confuse and keep women behind. He explained that the practice has its origins in war times which were used against those fighting with Muslims, but which ceased once hostilities were over, the Pakistan Christian Post reported. He also said that Al Hujab (the Islamic veil) — women's face and head cover — was meant for women to cover their breasts as one of good practices and was not intended to be generalized to wrap up the entire body. Regarding the right of women to lead in prayers at the front, Turabi reportedly said that women can lead at the front if they are more knowledgeable in the Quran and Hadith (Prophet’s sayings) than anyone else in the congregation.