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Religion Today Summaries - April 21, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 21, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Indonesia High Court Upholds Blasphemy Law
  • Nigeria Loses Confidence in Army as Attacks Continue
  • Laos Church Leader Jailed Without Trial, Group Says
  • Haiti Judge: Charges against 10 Volunteers Stand

Indonesia High Court Upholds Blasphemy Law

Christian Today reports that Indonesia's repressive blasphemy law will continue to stand after a court ruling on Monday. "If the blasphemy law was scrapped before a new law was enacted ... it was feared that misuses and contempt of religion would occur and trigger conflicts in society," said court justice Akil Mochtar, one of eight judges who upheld the law Monday, according to the Jakarta Post. The 1965 law gives authorities the power to ban religious groups that "distort" or "misrepresent" any of the country's six official religious forms. The only dissenting judge, Maria Farida Indrati, cited the "arbitrary actions" allowed by the law. Opponents say the law allows religious majorities to bully, harass and inflict violence on minorities while claiming moral superiority against "deviance."

Nigeria Loses Confidence in Army as Attacks Continue

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that two people were killed and three people are missing after Fulani tribesmen attacked a group of miners in Plateau State, Nigeria, on Monday. Eyewitnesses report that 67-year-old Mr. Danyan died of gunshot wounds to the head and chest, while the body of 27 year-old Garous Davou appeared to have suffered chemical burns. The attack in Rim village occurred despite a significant military presence in the "crisis prone" area. This has led to renewed speculation about the role of military elements in the on-going violence. During an earlier incident on the same day, villagers in Tahoss reported witnessing a man in military uniform hand his own weapon to one of the attackers when the latter appeared to run out of bullets.

Laos Church Leader Jailed Without Trial, Group Says

Worthy News reports that authorities in Laos have kept the leader of a growing house church movement in custody for more than six months without formal charges. U.S.-based International Christian Concern (ICC) said the 29 year-old leader, who was identified as Viengkham, is being held in Luang Namtha District Prison, in northern Laos, "without formal charges" brought against him. "We do fear for Viengkham's life since he is seen as an influential leader among the Laen Taen people group, one the government fears, will convert to Christianity in large numbers," a local Christian leader told ICC. Police reportedly visited Viengkam's church two weeks before his arrest and recorded the names of church members.

Haiti Judge: Charges against 10 Volunteers Stand

The Christian Post reports that all 10 American volunteers who tried to take 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic still face all charges. Reports from the office of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch indicated that the charges had been dropped against all group members except Laura Silsby, the group's leader. However, according to the Haitian judge in charge of the case, that announcement was premature. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he is still considering charges against all group members. Nine of the members have been released to the U.S. pending further questioning, while Silsby remains in Haitian custody. The group faces child trafficking charges for their attempt to take 33 children across the border to an orphanage being started in the Dominican Republic.