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Religion Today Summaries, December 2, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 2, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Christian Group Questions Tendency To 'Tiptoe Around Islam'
  • Muslims Urged to Kill Christian Fashion Writer
  • Evangelicals Blamed for Violence that Left Seven Wounded in Mexico
  • Two Georgia Youth Pastors Accused of Proselytizing During School Visits

Christian Group Questions Tendency To 'Tiptoe Around Islam'
Patrick Goodenough
(CNSNews.com) - A Christian research organization, the UK-based Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity (ISIC), has decried what it called the "disturbing trend" of media and politicians to blame those who arouse Muslim violence, rather than those who actually carry out that violence.  "In recent years there has been an increasingly disturbing trend amongst some sections of Western media, church and society to place more blame at the door of those who arouse Muslim violence with mere words, than with the perpetrators of that violence," the ISIC said.  It recalled that when the Taliban in Afghanistan threatened Western missionaries with a death sentence in August 2001 for sharing their faith with Muslims, the Christians were themselves blamed by many journalists for "not being more sensitive to local culture."  After U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell early last month called Muhammad a "terrorist" and a "man of war," Muslim riots in India left eight people dead.  "Once again the overwhelming sense given by the media and political and church leaders was that responsibility for this lay with Falwell, not with those who rioted.  It is not the responsibility of political and religious leaders to tiptoe around issues involving Islam, afraid of causing offense for fear this could trigger violence,” said the ISIC.  "No such considerations are made for the sensitivities of other religious groups."

Muslims Urged to Kill Christian Fashion Writer
(Baptists Press) The information minister of Zamfara State called for the death of fashion writer Isioma Daniel, whose article about the Miss World pageant led to rioting that resulted in more than 215 deaths and the burning of a number of Christian churches.  Daniel's article was seen as insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, and Information Minister Umar Dangaladima endorsed a "fatwa" or religious decree calling for the Christian woman's death.  Information Minister Jerry Gana, who acts as a spokesman for Nigeria's secular government, dismissed the decree as "null and void" and unconstitutional and said it would not be enforced.  "The federal government under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not allow such an order in any part of the federal republic," he told Agence France-Presse.  Agence France-Presse also reported that Zamfara's deputy governor, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, said in a speech to religious leaders later broadcast on state radio, "Like Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed."  Daniel resigned from the newspaper after fury erupted over the article, which appeared Nov. 16.  She has since fled the country.

Evangelicals Blamed for Violence that Left Seven Wounded in Mexico

(Voice of the Martyrs) Evangelical Christians are being blamed for violence that left seven people wounded by gunfire in Los Pinos in Chiapas, Mexico.  However, the 27 families who fled the village say that they were not at fault and that the wounded traditionalist Catholic "cacaques" (village leaders) were inadvertently shot by their accomplices.  According to a November 26 report from Compass Direct, the altercation started when Juan Lopez Patishtán was dragged from his home by the Catholic leaders to be put on trial for unspecified charges.  In the confusion, the evangelicals fled to the woods and later walked to the district capital of San Cristobal de las Casas to report the incident.  The 27 families later returned to the village and there have been no further reports of violence.  There is continued fear for their safety.  Pastor Salvador Lopez from San Cristobal says that police offer limited protection and often participate in attacks on evangelicals in the area.  "There is no security for us," he said.  "We can only trust in help from above.”

Two Georgia Youth Pastors Accused of Proselytizing During School Visits

(Charisma News Service) Parents have accused representatives of two churches in a Georgia community of crossing the line during their lunch visits by sharing their faith with students and inviting them to church.  Ministers with Young Life and North Metro Baptist Church usually walk among the 4,000 students of Collins Hill High in Suwanee twice weekly, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reported.  School officials say administrators monitor their visits and have warned them against proselytizing on campus, and "so far they have held to that bargain."  Administrators are, however, investigating two complaints, but Young Life and North Metro officials deny overstepping their bounds.  Senior Andy Sunshine said representatives from North Metro Baptist were passing out fliers recently for a church giveaway and asking him and other students to attend a service.  "I don't like people pressuring me," Sunshine said.  "I am a non-Christian, and I'm greatly offended."  However, Scott Spears, a Young Life organizer, said the intent is not to pressure students.  "We are not [at Collins Hill] to push Christianity," Spears said.  "We are [there] to be a friend for students to talk to."