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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 9, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 9, 2009

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

  • Uyghur Church Leader Sentenced to 15 Years
  • Eritrea Arrests 30 Evangelical Christian Women
  • Special Investigations Team Sought in Orissa Violence
  • High Court to Hear Christian Student Club's Case

Uyghur Church Leader Sentenced to 15 Years

ASSIST News Service reports that a Uyghur house church leader has received the harshest sentence China has forced on a Christian in almost 10 years. 36-year-old Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang Yimiti received 15 years criminal detention on Oct. 28 for allegedly "providing state secrets to overseas organizations." His attorney, Li Dunyon, said, "The whole case is about religious faith issues which are being used against Alimujiang for his conversion from Islam to Christianity, by biased law enforcement agents, prosecutors and the court." Alimujiang must now serve the maximum penalty for the spurious charge of "divulging state secrets." ChinaAid President Bob Fu said, "The whole world should be appalled at this injustice against innocent Christian leader Alimujiang. We call upon the UN and people of conscience throughout the world to strongly protest to the Chinese government for this severe case of religious persecution."

Eritrea Arrests 30 Evangelical Christian Women

The Christian Post reports that the Eritrean government threw 30 elderly, Christian women into its notorious prisons this weekend. The women, who attend a Methodist-background Faith Mission Church, were taken into custody while praying together at a house. "We condemn the arrest of the 30 women by Eritrean officials," said International Christian Concern's regional manager for Africa and South Asia, Jonathan Racho. "We urge officials of Eritrea to release the detainees and all the imprisoned Christians in the country. We call upon Eritrea to stop violating the freedom of religion of its people." Eritrea has allegedly held dozens non-registered Christians in metal shipping containers as prisons, subjecting the prisoners to heat and physical duress.

Special Investigations Team Sought in Orissa Violence

Compass Direct News reports that Christian leaders in India have called for a special investigations team to counter the shoddy or corrupt police investigations into last year's anti-Christian violence in Orissa. Of the 100 cases handled by two-fast track courts, 32 have been heard as of Nov. 30, resulting in 48 convictions and more than 164 acquittals. The number of cases registered total 787. Among those exonerated "for lack of evidence" was Manoj Pradhan, a legislator from the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was acquitted of murder on Nov. 24. Thus far, Pradhan has been cleared in six of 14 cases against him. Attorneys have said acquittals have resulted from police investigations that are intentionally defective to cover up for Hindu extremist attackers. Meantime, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has publicly admitted that Hindu nationalist groups were behind the killings and arson of Christians and their property.

High Court to Hear Christian Student Club's Case

Religion News Service reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of an evangelical Christian group that was banned by University of California in San Francisco. The Christian Legal Society was prevented from being recognized as a campus organization at a California law school because it excluded gays and lesbians. The group sued to be officially recognized at the public Hastings College of Law -- part of the University of California in San Francisco -- but was denied. Officials from the group said the school's policy violated their freedoms of speech, religion and association. "All student groups have the right to associate with people of like-mind and interest," said Kim Colby, senior counsel for the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law & Religious Freedom. Hastings said the organization must comply with the school's nondiscrimination policy to receive formal recognition, which gives them access to resources and travel funds.