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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 2, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 2, 2008

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

  • Faith Leaders Urge Global Solidarity Against HIV
  • Violence Erupts in Jos, Nigeria, after Elections
  • Wanted Pakistani "Blasphemer" Arrested
  • Haitians Still in Need after Hurricane Season


Christian Leaders Urge Global Solidarity Against HIV

The Christian Post reports that several Christian leaders spread a message of love and compassion yesterday on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, encouraging the church to fight the epidemic and help those  suffering from the disease. "Faith leaders should hence commit themselves to working towards achieving a generation without AIDS, and show loving care and support for those infected,” former leader of South Africa’s Anglican church Archbishop Njongo Ndungane said. Dr. Rick Warren, who launched the first church-based HIV/AIDS conference with the support of his church in 2005, honored President George W. Bush for his commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has funded more than $18.8 billion in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention since 2003.

Violence Erupts in Jos, Nigeria, after Elections

Compass Direct News reports that communal violence broke out in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Friday after local elections, leaving hundreds dead and thousands fleeing their homes. After officials reportedly refused to post local council election results on Thursday – prompting speculation that a party backed largely by Christians had won – Muslim gangs in the Ali Kazaure area of the city began attacking Christians, according to local residents. The resulting violence along political, ethnic and religious lines resulted in a death toll estimated to be in the hundreds. More than 300 Muslim bodies reportedly brought to one mosque. On Saturday officials reportedly announced that the ruling People’s Democratic Party, backed mainly by Christians, had won 16 of 17 council seats, defeating the All Nigerian Peoples Party, said to be primarily supported by Muslims. Muslim militants burned several churches, including that of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the Sarkin Mangu area of Jos, and its pastor has been confirmed killed. Several mosques also were reportedly razed.

Wanted Pakistani "Blasphemer" Arrested

ASSIST News Service reports that on Nov. 17 police arrested a Pakistani Christian man, who fled to safety after he was named in the police First Information Report (FIR) in April last year as a alleged blasphemer. Trouble began for Rashid, 16 in April last when Muslims across Pakistan were celebrating birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad. Harsh words between Rashid’s younger brother and a Muslim resident of Bakshi Park in Toba Tek Singh ended up at a scuffle between the two men, and a sticker that the Muslim was wearing, which bore a caption in respect of Prophet Muhammad, fell in the scuffle, providing a pretext to implicate Rashid and his family members in a blasphemy case. Angry local Muslims alleged that five local Christians desecrated Prophet Muhammad’s name by hurling the sticker on the ground. They also accused the Christians of passing derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad. Watchdog groups worry that Rashid may be killed in police even while in police custody.

Haitians Still in Need after Hurricane Season

Mission News Network reports that the eight hurricanes which slammed Haiti this year are still felt among the country's people. According Craig Dyer with Bright Hope International, "Right now, as best we can estimate, there are about 1,000 families that are still in shelters around the city of Gonaives. There's about three-quarters of a million people who are receiving some sort of food aid, and of course pastors and churches have all been in the center of that." Bright Hope has assisted with food, funds to reach clean water, and shelters for families. Some families that lost their homes months ago are still sleeping inside local churches and gaining all their resources - spiritual and physical - from these local establishments.