Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 12, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 12, 2010

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

  • Haiti Judge Says Americans Should Be Released
  • Pakistani Lawyer Sentenced for Death of Christian Maid
  • S.C. School Reinstates Student Prayer Sessions
  • Burma Army Burns Houses, Intensifies Attack on Karen

Haiti Judge Says Americans Should Be Released

NPR reports that 10 American missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children may soon walk free. On Thursday, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil recommended that all 10 missionaries, most from Idaho Baptist churches, be released after he questioned the group. Saint-Vil also heard from parents who said they willingly gave up their children in hopes of providing them an education at the missionaries' orphanage. "After listening to the families, I see the possibility that they can all be released," Saint-Vil told The Associated Press. "I am recommending that all 10 Americans be released." The judge must now send his recommendation to the prosecutor, according to NPR, but Saint-Vil will make the final decision in the Americans' case. The group's release, however, does not mean that the charges will be dropped. Group leader Laura Silsby, who organized the trip's logistics, has come under increased scrutiny for her role is skipping crucial paperwork.

Pakistani Lawyer Sentenced for Death of Christian Maid

ASSIST News Service reports that Muhammad Naeem, a Muslim lawyer who allegedly tortured his 12-year-old Christian maid to death, was sent to jail on Tuesday. Shazia Bashir's death sparked multiple protests from local Christian rights groups and Christian residents of the eastern city of Lahore, where Christians say they rarely receive justice for their grievances. "Our lawyers are confident, and are willing to face the pressure and any consequences placed upon them from the Bar Association of Pakistan," said Nasir Saeed, Director Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLASS). "They definitely need your prayers so that the Lord may give them wisdom and courage to handle this very challenging case appropriately." Although the investigation is ongoing, Naeem's lawyers are demanding that all charges be dropped. Accusations by Christians against Muslims are often ignored in parts of Pakistan.

S.C. School Reinstates Student Prayer Sessions

The Christian Post reports that a South Carolina high school will allow its students to their prayer group, but without community member who led the group for more than 10 years. The compromise at Georgetown High School came after Americans United for the Separation of Church and State complained that the group's leader, Violet Infinger, was hanging out religious tracts. The group will continue with a faculty sponsor. "We want to continue to provide this kind of service for all students at Georgetown High because it is the right thing to do as well as the fact that it meets the district's and the school's goals of providing a well-rounded education for our students," Chris Miller, the school's band director who volunteered to supervise the prayer group, said to media on Wednesday.

Burma Army Burns Houses, Intensifies Attack on Karen

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that more than 70 houses, a mobile health clinic and two schools in eastern Burma have been burnt down by army patrols stepping up the offensive on a Christian minority. According to the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP), Burma army allied troops set fire to 46 houses in Toe Hta area and 28 houses in Ka Di Mu Der area of Ler Doh township, Nyaunglebin District. Other schools have been forced to close. Thousands of people have been displaced and are still in hiding following the attacks, according to Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a relief organization working in the conflict zones of eastern Burma. Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at CSW, said, "These latest attacks serve as clear evidence of a brutal plan of ethnic cleansing against the minorities, instigated by Burma's military regime."