Religion Today Summaries - August 26, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 26, 2005

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

  • Islam's Message Of Hate

  • Human Rights Groups Protest Communist Nation's Forcible Repatriation of North Korean Refugees

  • Vietnam: Despite International Agreement, Christians Opposed, Pressured 

  • Sri Lanka

Islam's Message Of Hate
Charles Gardner, Assist News Service

Plans to protect Britain's Muslim community with a bill to outlaw incitement to religious hatred could backfire on the very people it is designed to help. So says Dr. Clifford Hill, a clergyman sociologist who is Research Director of the Family Matters Institute. Believers in the Muslim holy book, the Koran, could well be accused of breaking such a law should it be passed. For though most British Muslims have never read the book but rely on what their imams tell them (they are forbidden to read it in English), its message is not the peaceful one politically correct politicians and church leaders would have us believe. Commenting on the link between Islam and terrorism in the wake of the London bombings, Dr. Hill said: "There are a number of verses in the Koran that are used by fundamentalist Muslims as justification for acts of terrorism against non-Muslims. "Though it is demonstrably true that the vast majority of Muslims are decent, law-abiding and peace-loving citizens, it is a dangerous lie to say there is no connection between Islam and Muslims who carry out acts of indiscriminate murder in the name of the Islamic faith. This only obscures the path to any solution of the problem."

Human Rights Groups Protest Communist Nation's Forcible Repatriation of North Korean Refugees
Agape Press

A coalition of human rights groups gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC recently to protest the communist nation's forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees back to North Korea. Suzanne Scholte of the North Korean Freedom Coalition says the North Koreans face imprisonment, torture and execution when they return. For that reason, she explains, the Coalition is doing more than protesting. "We're continuing to put pressure on them this way," she says, "but we're also calling for the Olympic Committee to change the venue of the Beijing Olympics, because we realize that China doesn't respond to moral pressure -- it only responds to economic pressure. There's also talk about having tariffs enacted against China's products." Also, last weekend the group held a prayer vigil for North Korean freedom at a Korean church outside Washington. Scholte believes the protests, and particularly the calls for changing the Olympics venue, are beginning to have an impact on the Chinese. "We feel like they are reacting to the economic consideration and the prestige they have [at stake], because they've got so much wrapped up in these Olympics coming up," she says.

Vietnam: Despite International Agreement, Christians Opposed, Pressured
Christian Aid Mission

"Local authorities keep saying that evangelical Christianity is very evil," wrote a native missionary in Vietnam's central highlands. "They try to dissuade people from believing. A number of people get scared and turn away." Another gospel worker recently reported to Christian Aid, "Many people dare not confess their faith in Christ for fear of losing privileges from the government, such as the right of access to loans from government banks or to donations of rice and salt. "faith in Christ means abandonment by the government and total loss of all legal rights," he continued. This kind of persecution continues in many areas of Vietnam despite an accord reached in June between the US and Vietnam to improve religious freedom there. A government distribution of monthly support to poor families who lost relatives in the Vietnam War was refused to Christians in one area. Believers also report that Vietnamese university students are being sent to rural villages as "missionaries" preaching Ho Chi Minh's communist philosophies. They publicly criticize all religious belief and pressure local Christians to abandon their faith. In addition, Christian Aid has received multiple reports of native missionaries being watched, threatened or interrupted in evangelistic activities by local government officials. Yet missionaries report that many people are choosing to accept Christ despite the struggle they know awaits them.

Sri Lanka
Charisma News Service

A full gospel congregation was recently banned from meeting for worship because authorities felt Buddhist opposition to the church could lead to a disturbance of the peace. According to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEARLC), on Aug. 7, a mob of around 50 people led by a Buddhist monk arrived at the Foursquare Gospel Church in Horana, located in the Kalutara District, threatening the believers to stop their meeting, Assist News Service (ANS) reported. The group also told the congregation to leave the church and not return. On July 31, the same mob interrupted the congregation's Sunday worship and harassed believers. Although the church requested for police protection, authorities didn't arrive during the Aug. 7 incident. The pastor once again called the police station, this time to request intervention. The police called both parties to the police station to resolve the matter, but authorities ordered the pastor and his congregation to stop meeting for worship. The church has also been instructed not to try and relocate, according to WEARLC, ANS reported. (