Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 22, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 22, 2011

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

  • Muslims Abduct Coptic Christian Woman in Egypt
  • Wycliffe Translators Look for Airplane to Aid Efforts
  • Christian Missionary Mistaken for Jewish by Palestinian Killers
  • Christians Face Another Wave of Arrests in Iran

Muslims Abduct Coptic Christian Woman in Egypt

One Christian girl in Egypt in missing today after several Muslims forced their way into her family's home and abduct her, her family alleges. The family of 18-year-old Nesma Sarwat says she disappeared on Feb. 19. The home belongs to the building contractor who built the controversial St. Mary and St. Michael church in Cairo, Egypt. ASSIST News Service reports that her kidnappers also wrote messages on the home's wall, which said, "Islam is the solution" and "The Church has to be demolished." The abductors also wrote the names of the other family members on the wall. Neighbors heard voices, but no one saw the abductors as the whole operation took less than ten minutes and blood was found on the stairs and in the flat, reported Coptic activist Mariam Ragy of Free Coptic Voice advocacy.

Wycliffe Translators Look for Airplane to Aid Efforts

For Wycliffe Associates, an international Bible translation group, airplanes are just as important as alphabets. The organization is seeking to raise $1.5 million toward the purchase of a Pilatus PC-6 aircraft for operation in Indonesia. A former missionary pilot, Wycliffe Associates President and CEO Bruce Smith calls Indonesia "one of the most challenging mission fields on earth." This chain of islands in the south Pacific is among the least explored places on earth, and among the hardest to travel. Its people speak more than 700 separate languages. "It takes specialized airplanes to keep Bible translators at work, planes designed specifically to get in and out of the incredibly complicated terrain: steep cliffs, narrow gorges, short runways carved out of thick jungles," says Smith. "I've been in some pretty difficult situations as a missionary pilot, and I can tell you that a dependable airplane is not optional. An airplane is a lifeline."

Christian Missionary Mistaken for Jewish by Palestinian Killers

Four Palestinian have been indicted in the stabbing death of an American missionary in Israel. ABC News reports that the suspects killed Kristine Luken, 44, because they thought she was Jewish. Four others have been arrested for providing support. Luken was stabbed to death while hiking in a forest outside Jerusalem with a friend, Kaye Susan Wilson, Dec. 17, 2010. Those arrested are responsible for a wave of violent crimes. "The cell's activity had an initial criminal orientation," Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said. But after the killing of Hamas leader El Mabhouh in Dubai, for which Hamas holds Israel responsible, "the cell decides to kill in revenge for [that]," Rosenfeld said. Wilson tried to convince the killers she and Luken were not Jewish to avoid injury, but the group didn't believe her because she was wearing a Star of David necklace.

Christians Face Another Wave of Arrests in Iran

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that an estimated 45 Christians in various locations were detained overnight by the Iranian authorities on Feb. 13. At least five people were held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. They were all released the next day after questioning. The wave of arrests and temporary detentions by the Iranian government appear to be part of the government's wider tactic of repression and intimidation of the Christian community. Similar tactics have been deployed against Iran's Baha'i community. Concern is mounting for seven Baha'i leaders detained since early 2008 after it was revealed that two women have been transferred to the brutal ‘Section 200' of Gohardasht prison on 12 February.