Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Easter Sunday Bombing near Baghdad Church Injures 7
- Rapture Believers Warn Neighbors of Impending Doom on May 21
- Hindu Extremists in India Beat Pastor Unconscious
- Suspected Islamists Burn Down Two Homes in Ethiopia
Easter Sunday Bombing near Baghdad Church Injures 7
At least seven people were injured on Easter Sunday in the city of Baghdad, Iraq, when a bomb exploded outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Worthy News reports that the attack shattered windows in nearby buildings and mangled a police vehicle guarding the church. At least two passersby and two policemen were among those injured. Iraq's Christian minority has endured multiple attacks in recent years, including an attack on another Baghdad church last October that killed 52 people. One Iraqi Christian, who only gave his first name as Raad, said Holy Week services have been marked by a quiet determination to meet. "(On Good Friday), there were candles everywhere and all the people in the church were crying. Whenever I enter the church, I cry because I remember my friends and my cousin, a priest, who was killed in the attack." He told Reuters, "I can't forget those moments I lived through. I lost about 30 of my friends in the attack."
Rapture Believers Warn Neighbors of Doom on May 21
The end of the world is coming - again. Religion News Service reports that followers of 89-year-old radio host Howard Camping, who initially predicted the world would end in 1994, says the world will end precisely on May 21, 2011. In New Jersey, about 30 believers paid to erect the signs in hopes of warning and saving their neighbors, said Bob James, a Morristown electrical engineer who organized the grassroots effort. "Seven billion people are facing their death! What else could I do?" said James, who views the billboards as a message of hope. "When you have this information, with my love for my fellow man, I wanted to tell people." Although the May 21 prediction is widely dismissed, even mocked, Camping's followers see validation in that reaction. After all, they say, Noah met nothing but skepticism when building his ark.
Hindu Extremists in India Beat Pastor Unconscious
Compass Direct News reports that Hindu extremists beat a pastor unconscious in front of his sons earlier this month in India's Madhya Pradesh state. Ramesh Devda, 30, said he was attacked on April 4 after leading a prayer meeting in Chikklia village. He said he was on his way to the border of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat states on motorcycle with his two sons, ages 10 and 8, to lead another prayer meeting. As he passed through another village, three people on two motorcycles blocked his way, forced him to stop and knocked his motorcycle over. “They were carrying big bamboo sticks and clubs,” he said. “They started beating me, and then they called and three more men came and started to attack me.” He said he was thankful that is sons were spared from beating, though his older son sustained a leg injury in the course of the attack. The Hindu extremists “were angry at me and were threatening to kill me and were warning me not to come to their area again,” he said.
Suspected Islamists Burn Down Two Homes in Ethiopia
Evangelist Wako Hanake received multiple anonymous messages warning him to stop converting Muslims to Christ in Ethiopia. According to Compass Direct News, suspected Islamists finally acted on that threat on March 29, burning down his two thatched-grass homes. “Inside the house were iron sheets and timber stored in preparation for putting up a permanent house,” said Hanake, who is in his late 30s. “I have lost everything.” His wife and three children were home when the houses burned, but made it out unharmed. Church leaders said neighbors are still housing Hanake and his family. “The family has lost everything, and they feel fearful for their lives,” said a local church leader. “We are doing all we can to provide clothing and food to them. We are appealing to all well wishers to support Hanake’s family.”