Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Nepal Church Bomber Faked Repentance
- Death Toll Rises in Afghanistan after Koran Burning
- Exit Visa: Iraqi Christians Look for Safe Haven
- Persecution: Chinese Expand Their Tactics, Report Says
Nepal Church Bomber Faked Repentance
The head of a militant Hindu extremist group sought to disguise his extortion and terror activities from behind bars by claiming he had repented of bombing a church in Nepal. Compass Direct News reports that Ram Prasad Mainali also feigned an interest in Christianity, but apparently continued to coordinate attacks from his prison cell. On March 4, police foiled a plot to explode a series of bombs designed by Mainali and arrested six accomplices. Mainali was arrested on Sept. 5, 2009 for exploding a bomb in a Catholic parish in Kathmandu, Our Lady of the Assumption, which killed a teenager and a newly married woman and injured more than a dozen others on May 23 of that year.
Death Toll Rises in Afghanistan after Koran Burning
Christian Today reports that protests in Afghanistan continue after a Florida pastor burned a Koran last month. Two police officers were killed and about 30 were injured when protests turned violent in the city of Kandahar on Sunday. The deaths follow the murder of seven U.N. workers on Friday. The pastor, Terry Jones, said the goal of burning a Koran was to "make an awareness of the radical element of Islam" and contends the reaction to the burning shows just that. U.S. President Barack condemned both the instigating act and the fallout. “The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry,” he said in a statement. “However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency dignity.”
Exit Visa: Iraqi Christians Look for Safe Haven
Many Iraqi Christians have tried to flee their home country only to be refused refuge in many European countries, including the Netherlands and Great Britain. Christianity Today reports that no one is quite sure how many Iraqi Christians have left the country, as refugees are not counted by religious affiliation, but the United Nations estimated 1.4 million people have left Iraq. About half of those are believed to be Christian. "We needed to keep the problem on the political agenda and make sure that the European institutions continue to protect the rights and the security as much as possible of these minorities," said Grégor Puppinck, director of the European Center for Law and Justice, the European arm of the American Center for Law and Justice. He coordinated the discussion. "The Council of Europe has influence on the [European Court of Human Rights] and the rest of the European states."
Persecution: Chinese Expand Their Tactics, Report Says
Baptist Press reports that the Chinese government intensified its pressure against Christians in 2010 for a "fifth straight year of escalating persecution," according to ChinaAid Association. The Christian human rights organization says that beatings, torture, arrests, harassment and church demolitions are among the 90 recorded cases of persecution, a nearly 17 percent increase over 2009, according to a report released on March 31. The cases "are just the tip of the iceberg," according to a ChinaAid news release. "The Chinese government's stranglehold on information and the authoritarian regime's other security measures make getting a true picture of the extent of persecution impossible," even though the report includes incidents from all over China.