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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 4, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 4, 2010

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

  • 3,000 Refugees Face Thai Pressure to Return to Burma
  • Protests Erupt as EU Delegation Visits Orissa
  • February Declared 'Month of Prayer' for Haiti's Children
  • Pakistani Muslim Faces Trial for Christian Servant's Murder

3,000 Refugees Face Thai Pressure to Return to Burma

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that the Thai government and local military leaders are threatening to force 3,000 Karen refugees along the border back into Burma. The refugees fled into Thailand in June 2009 following a military offensive by the Burma Army and the pro-regime militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). The refugees have been living in a temporary camp since then but have still faced threats from the DKBA. Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at CSW, said, "There is a severe risk that if they return, the Karen refugees will be subjected to severe human rights violations, including forced labor and rape by soldiers of the Burma Army. This is an urgent situation which requires immediate international attention... These people must not be returned until they can do so safely, and that will only be possible when Burma is free and at peace."

Protests Erupt as EU Delegation Visits Orissa

Christian Today reports that radical Hindu groups met an visiting EU delegation in Orissa with multiple protests. "It is the responsibility of our government to deal with the problem," said Gouri Prasad Brahma, general secretary for the radical group Vishwa Hindu Parishad. "There is no business for outsiders in the internal matter of the state." The delegation agreed not to conduct a fact-finding mission in the area, where at least 40 Christians were killed and another 25,000 displaced by Hindu radicals in 2007. The delegation is being hosted by the Catholic Church in Orissa. Spokesman Fr Babu Joseph said their visit reflected the concern of European countries over violations of human rights and religious freedom in India. He said:, "It is not so much an issue concerning only Christians. The EU sees it as a global human issue."

February Declared 'Month of Prayer' for Haiti's Children

ASSIST News Service reports that relief and development group World Vision is asking Americans to pray for the critical needs of Haitian children during the month of February.  World Vision began distributing relief supplies less than 24 hours after Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck January 12. The organization continues to distribute food and supplies, as well as support medical efforts and encourage the protection of children following the crisis. "We are especially concerned about children's needs and vulnerabilities in this disaster. We know it is going to be a marathon - and not a sprint - to help them and their families recover and rebuild their lives," said World Vision's Steve Haas. Prayer suggestions include food and water, injury recovery and health, children's families' livelihood, homelessness, and safety during a time of chaos.

Pakistani Muslim Faces Trial for Christian Servant's Murder

Mission News Network reports that Christian lawyers in Pakistan are vowing justice for a 12-year-old Christian girl allegedly killed by her Muslim master. "On January 22, a Muslim lawyer by the name of Mohammed Naeem tortured and killed a 12-year-old Christian girl in Lahore, Pakistan," said Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern. Lawyers for rights group Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) say hearings against Naeem, a prominent lawyer who allegedly bribed authorities to prevent his arrest, began again on Feb. 3. The deceased's family had relied on her income of $12 USD a month as their only source of income. The Masih family protested outside of government offices after local police refused to arrest Naeem, prompting Pakistan's president to get involved and urge prosecution of the case.