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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 17, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 17, 2010

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

  • Four Iraqi Christians Targeted, Killed In Mosul
  • Haiti 'Lawyer' Suspected of Trafficking Case
  • Egypt Delays Trial of Christmas Eve Shooting Suspects
  • Pope Condemns 'Heinous Crime' of Sexual Abuse

Four Iraqi Christians Targeted, Killed In Mosul

The Christian Post reports that Christians in Iraq faced a new, deadly burst of violence in Mosul yesterday. At least one student at a Christian university was reportedly killed by gunman firing from a car, and another reportedly injured. "The area has been sealed off, and an investigation has been launched," the officer told the AFP. On Sunday, gunmen killed a Chaldean Christian outside his home, following by the drive-by shooting an Assyrian Catholic on Monday. "For years Christians have been targeted in Mosul and the surrounding area," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "It is one of the most violent areas in Iraq. With the parliamentary elections coming up March 7, more violence against Christians is expected.

Haiti 'Lawyer' Suspected of Trafficking Case

Baptist Press reports that a legal adviser to some of the 10 American missions volunteers detained in Haiti may be a suspect in an El Salvador child prostitution ring. Jorge Puello, who apparently volunteered his services to the jailed Baptists, was identified by his mother Feb. 13 as a fugitive sought by Salvadoran police, the Miami Herald reported. Puello's common-law wife, Ana Orellana, was convicted in the case in 2009 but her husband managed to flee the country before trial. Puello's legal problems, however, are separate from the Americans' case, said Bernard Saint-Vil, the presiding judge, on Feb. 13. "At this point, the two cases have nothing to do with each other," Bernard Saint-Vil, the investigating magistrate, said in a telephone interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I have no indication that Mr. Puello knew the missionaries before their arrests."

Egypt Delays Trial of Christmas Eve Shooting Suspects

Christian Today reports that the trial of three Muslim men accused of a drive-by shooting that killed seven Christians outside a Coptic Church has been delayed for five more weeks. Hammam al-Qomy, Oreshi Abul Hagag and Hindawi Sayed Hassan all plead "not guilty" to charges of premeditated murder and putting Egyptian citizens and property at risk. "Police know that I am innocent and who the real perpetrators are," al-Qomy said, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. The other two accused made similar claims. At least seven people were killed on Jan. 6, the Coptic observance of Christmas Day, when gunmen opened fire outside a church and shopping district in Nagaa Hammadi.

Pope Condemns 'Heinous Crime' of Sexual Abuse

Religion News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI concluded an unprecedented two-day crisis management session with Ireland's Catholic bishops yesterday. He denounced the sexual abuse of children as "not only a heinous crime but also a grave sin." Benedict and senior Vatican cardinals met Monday and Tuesday with all 24 serving Irish bishops to discuss the clerical sex abuse of minors detailed in two Irish government-sponsored reports released last year. According to a Vatican statement, the pope urged the bishops to identify "concrete steps aimed at bringing healing to those who had been abused ... and restoring the church's spiritual and moral credibility." Over the two-day summit, all of the bishops made brief statements to the pope and responded to a draft pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, which would be Benedict's first major papal document devoted to clerical sex abuse. The Vatican says the letter from Benedict will be released before Easter.