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Religion Today Summaries, December 27, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 27, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Mob Attacks Midnight Mass in India
  • Recent Talks Leave Little if Any Effect on Persecution in China
  • Nigerian Christians Arrested for Sharia Violations
  • Future of Religious Freedom Unsure in Hong Kong

Mob Attacks Midnight Mass in India

(Voice of the Martyrs – Canada) In recent years, Christmas has consistently been a time for violence against Christians.  During a midnight mass in the village of Malipota near the India-Bangladesh border, a mob of 20-30 men armed with machetes, homemade guns, and crude bombs attacked a church with 1,200 worshippers.  The attackers set off several bombs, then grabbed valuables from the congregation and raided a church safe before fleeing.  The value of what was stolen was over $4,000.  Thankfully no one is reported killed in the attack, but the priest was injured while resisting the attack and five others were wounded in the explosions.  While the motive for the attack may have been robbery, attacks on Christians are common in many parts of India.  www.persecution.net

Recent Talks Leave Little if Any Effect on Persecution in China

(Charisma News) Despite recent talks between the communist government and U.S. officials over human rights and democracy issues, persecution of Christians continues, according to Open Doors USA.  Lorne Craner, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor affairs, completed two days of high-level talks with Chinese officials and remained in China this to continue talks in other parts of the country.  Craner said China had agreed to meet the leaders of the U.S. Commission of Religious Freedom in the spring, the Associated Press reported.  "The government of China continues to make life difficult for people of faith," Open Doors President and CEO Terry Madison said.  "Christians face intimidation, arrest, beatings, fines and imprisonment for the 'crime' of worshiping God.  For China to truly become part of the world community, it needs to take the issue of freedom of religion for its citizens more seriously than it has in the past."  There have been arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of unregistered Christians from many parts of China, according to Compass Direct. Flagrant cases of abuse and even torture are common.  "The police poured boiling water over one evangelist in north China recently," reported one house church elder. "When I heard the news, I wept."  www.charismanews.com

Nigerian Christians Arrested for Sharia Violations

(Compass) Ninety-one Christians were jailed by the government of Niger state for alleged violations of sharia, or Islamic law. Alhaji Mohammed Bida, chairman of the state’s Islamic enforcement board, stated that 182 police operations were carried out in three zones and that authorities imposed a total of 300,000 naira ($3,000) in fines against offenders. Fifty-one cases were still pending at press time. Most of the offenses related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages and sexual promiscuity. Bida expressed delight that the arrests led to the entrenchment of Islam in the state. In contrast, Governor Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa said he has ruled out the possibility of introducing the controversial sharia legal system in his state, explaining that Nasarawa has more diverse ethnic, cultural and religious affiliations than most of the northern states of Nigeria. “For now, I don’t see how we will start dissipating our energy on sharia. We already have enough problems to tackle,” Adamu said.  www.compassdirect.org

Future of Religious Freedom Unsure in Hong Kong

(Voice of the Martyrs – USA) Representatives of the Voice of the Martyrs in Hong Kong are voicing deep concern and alarm at the implications of the controversial Article 23 Legislation, which is about to be introduced into Hong Kong law. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, there was a promise of fifty years of religious freedom. Religious persecution has been part of China's history, and should Article 23 come into force, religious persecution could spread to Hong Kong. Under Article 23, religious groups will be liable to be deemed a "National Security Risk" and appropriate action taken.   www.persecution.com