Religion Today Summaries - April 7, 2010

Religion Today Summaries - April 7, 2010

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

  • Ex-Muslim Teen Seeks U.S. Refuge to Avoid Deportation
  • U.S. Volunteer Spends Easter in Haiti Prison
  • Pakistan: Sources Conflict Regarding Burned Christian Man
  • Williams Apologizes for Saying Irish Catholics Lost 'All Credibility'

Ex-Muslim Teen Seeks U.S. Refuge to Avoid Deportation

The Washington Times reports that Rifqa Bary, who fled her Muslim parents' home in Ohio last year after her conversion to Christianity, remains in fear of deportation. Her attorney told a judge Monday that the 17-year-old is being blocked by her Muslim parents from fighting the possibility of deportation. Rifqa has been in foster care for months, but is an illegal immigrant, along with her family, from Sri Lanka. She maintains her fear of harm if she is forced to return to the Muslim state. Her attorney has asked for a special order that would allow Rifqa to apply for special immigration status without her parents' consent. Franklin County Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Gill will hold a hearing on the matter next month. Rifqa and her parents are undergoing individual counseling with the goal of reconciliation, but they will not meet in person for some time.

U.S. Volunteer Spends Easter in Haiti Prison

Baptist Press reports that the last remaining Baptist volunteer still in a Haiti prison spent Easter Sunday in jail but remains confident she will be released. Laura Silsby, in prison for more than nine weeks after she and nine others were arrested in late January on charges of child kidnapping, told NBC News her faith has sustained her. The nine other Americans have been released and are back in the United States. Silsby was the group leader. Silsby faces a new charge -- "organizing irregular travel" -- that the other nine Baptists did not face. It is not known how much longer she will be in jail. The 10 originally were charged with child kidnapping and allegedly did not have the proper documents to take kids from the earthquake-ravaged country to an orphanage Silsby was starting in the Dominican Republic. Silsby and the others say they simply were trying to help children.

Pakistan: Sources Conflict Regarding Burned Christian Man

ASSIST News Service reports that a persecution watchdog has revised its account of a Christian man allegedly burned to death by Muslims. International Christian Concern (ICC) released new information on the incident in Pakistan, saying sources were giving conflicting accounts. Some sources say that Rashid Masih (ICC's previous report said his first name was Arshed) burned himself to death after police tortured his wife. An ICC team in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, interviewed Rashid's family and neighbors. Police arrested Rukhsana, Masih's wife, and reportedly tortured her after her Muslim employer accused her of stealing property and money worth more than $500. Extremist Muslims warned Masih that they would rape his wife and daughter unless Rukhsana returned the stolen property. As far as ICC can determine, Rashid burned himself to death on March 18 as a result of his wife's torture and threats that he received. He died from his injuries on March 22.

Williams Apologizes for Saying Irish Catholics Lost 'All Credibility'

Religion News Service reports that the leader of the global Anglican Communion has been forced to apologize for claiming the Catholic Church in Ireland had lost "all credibility." The Easter weekend dust-up was triggered when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams claimed that recent sexual abuse revelations had been a "colossal trauma" for Ireland's Catholic community. The Irish government has issued several reports in the past year detailing a long-standing and wide-ranging cover-up of abuse of children in Catholic-run institutions. With the Irish Catholic Church "suddenly losing all credibility," said Williams, "that's not just a problem for the Church, but for everybody in Ireland." The Times newspaper in London labeled Williams' declaration "a rare breach of ecumenical protocol," as Catholic fury exploded, forcing the archbishop to telephone Irish Catholic leaders to express his "deep sorrow and regret" over his remarks.