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Religion Today Summaries - December 2, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 2, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Burmese Refugees in India Live in Appalling Conditions
  • Egypt: Thousands of Muslims Attack Christians, Kill Two
  • Florida Residents Rally for Ten Commandments Display
  • D.C. Tosses Complaint Against Catholic University Dorms


Burmese Refugees in India Live in Appalling Conditions

Thousands of Christians from Burma's Chin State have fled to India to escape persecution and poverty in their highly militarized country, but many problems still persist in their new home, the New York Times reports. Refugees live crammed into several neighborhoods in west Delhi, suffering from diseases, sharing single rooms with large families and staying indoors to avoid pollution and the risk of assault. Citizenship is not an option, though refugees can apply for protection from potential deportation. Many Chins still say, however, that they had too much to risk if they remained in Burma -- Chin State has been ravaged by military rule since the 1960s, and ethnic minorities like the Christian Chins, Kayans, Kachins, Arakan and Mon have suffered endless persecution, forced slavery, rape, assault and poverty. India is a refuge for now, but Chins feel a prevailing sense of anonymity. "We are here, but no one knows," one woman said. "We want people to know."

Egypt: Thousands of Muslims Attack Christians, Kill Two

Thousands of Muslims attacked and besieged Copts in the majority-Christian village of el Ghorayzat, killing two and seriously wounding others, as well as looting and torching homes and businesses, ASSIST News Service reports. A property quarrel between a Coptic man, John Hosni, and his Muslim neighbor, Mahmoud Abdel-Mazeer, on Nov. 28 led to Abdel-Mazeer calling some extremists to set Hosni's store and home on fire; Hosni then hit Abdel-Mazeer on the head, leading to his death later in the hospital. Fearing backlash, Hosni fled the village with his family, and in revenge, a Muslim mob stormed the village, murdering two Christian brothers and going on a rampage of looting and burning Coptic-owned homes and businesses. "This is not revenge; this is simply an excuse to kill people because they are Christians, as well as loot their property," an eyewitness said. Despite the attack, the Muslims insist they have not yet avenged Abdel-Mazeer's death, and they have refused to bury Abdel-Mazeer until they kill "all Copts in the village."

Florida Residents Rally for Ten Commandments Display

A federal judge in Florida recently ordered a Ten Commandments monument in front of the Dixie County courthouse to be removed, and the decision caused an uproar among some residents, CBN News reports. The American Civil Liberties Union initially filed the lawsuit against the county in 2006 on behalf of a non-resident who was offended by the five-foot-tall granite monument given to the county by an artist. The message "Love God and keep His commandments" is engraved at the bottom of the monument, and the ACLU argued that the display should be in front of a church, not a courthouse. Last weekend, more than 500 residents gathered to protest the judge's orders to remove the monument; the Liberty Counsel has appealed the judge's decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

D.C. Tosses Complaint Against Catholic University Dorms

The District of Columbia has dismissed a complaint against the Catholic University of America filed by George Washington University law professor John F. Banzhaf III, in which he charged that the school's return to single-sex student housing discriminated against women, the Religion News Service reports. The city's Office of Human Rights said Nov. 29 that offering only same-gender dorms was not unlawful discrimination under the District's Human Rights Act, and that following the complaint's reasoning would lead to "a prohibition on same-sex bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams, which would lead to absurd results." CUA's president John Garvey, who ended mixed-gender housing in an attempt to crack down on drinking and casual sex, welcomed the decision. "I am thankful for the outpouring of public support for our right to implement a principled decision to transition to single-sex residence halls," he said. "We will continue down that path." Banzhaf filed another complaint in October accusing CUA of discriminating against Muslim students, but that suit is still pending before the Human Rights Office.

Publication date: December 2, 2011