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Religion Today Summaries - February 7, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 7, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • 11-Year-Old Ex-Muslim Boy Clings to Christian Faith Despite Beatings
  • Attacks Spark Revival in Nigeria
  • Poll: Most Americans OK With Religious Groups in Public Schools
  • Israel Warns U.S. Jews: Iran Could Strike Here


11-Year-Old Ex-Muslim Boy Clings to Christian Faith Despite Beatings

An 11-year-old former Muslim boy in Turkey named Hussein has remained strong in his Christian faith despite beatings, bullying and assaults, CBN News reports. Hussein accepted Christ at the age of 9 after his father -- once an Islamic scholar -- became a Christian and began taking his family to church. Wanting to share his faith with others but unaware of the potential dangers he faced for leaving Islam, Hussein began publicly professing his faith at school by wearing a silver cross necklace. His Muslim classmates taunted him, spitting on him and calling him names, and his religion teacher beat him regularly with a two-foot-long rod because he wouldn't recite Muslim prayers. Because of the stress and trauma, Hussein began experiencing grand mal seizures; he now takes medicine to treat the condition and attends a new school where he suffers fewer attacks. However, he insists he will never recant his faith, no matter what. "Christ said, 'You would suffer for me,'" Hussein said. "So it's okay to suffer and we should be happy to suffer for Him. The Lord is with me." With or without the cross necklace, he said, he will continue to tell others about Jesus.

Attacks Spark Revival in Nigeria

Increasing violence in Nigeria has strengthened the faith of local Christians, even sparking a revival at the Deeper Life Bible Church in Gombe, where nine Christians were killed in an attack on the church on Jan. 5, according to Voice of the Martyrs. During a funeral service for those killed, many accepted Jesus and many other believers rededicated their lives to Christ. The crowd of about 500 then joined in intercessory prayer for the church of Nigeria, the country as a whole, Muslims in Nigeria, and the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. Ever since Boko Haram issued an ultimatum on Jan. 3 ordering Christians to leave northern Nigeria or face violence, the group has claimed responsibility for the murders of at least 44 Christians, including another church attack on Jan. 22 that killed seven. "We have the legitimate right to defend ourselves," said Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria. "We will do whatever it takes."

Poll: Most Americans OK With Religious Groups in Public Schools

As the New York Department of Education prepares to evict more than 160 religious organizations from public schools on Feb. 12 to comply with a ban on churches in schools, a new LifeWay Research study shows that two-thirds of Americans are in favor of renting public school space to churches and other community groups, WORLD New York reports. However, in New York, 49 percent believed schools should rent to churches and organizations. Twenty-seven percent were okay with schools renting to community groups but not churches, and almost 20 percent said schools should not rent to any organizations. LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer said the new New York City ban had considerable implications for churches in urban areas. "Historically, schools have been welcoming locations to churches, especially in larger urban centers where schools are in the heart of the community," he said. "A trend of banning church use of public schools could have significant implications."

Israel Warns U.S. Jews: Iran Could Strike Here

According to an international security document obtained by ABC News, Israeli facilities in North America and around the world are on high alert because of a predicted increased threat of Iranian attacks against Jewish targets. "We predict that the threat on our sites around the world will increase ... on both our guarded sites and 'soft' sites," said a letter circulated by Eliran Avitan, the head of security for the Consul General for the Mid-Atlantic States. "Guarded sites" refers to government facilities, such as embassies and consulates, while "soft sites" refers to Jewish synagogues, schools and community centers. The head of Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, said recently that Iran was trying to target Israelis because of alleged Israeli attacks on Iran's nuclear scientists. Local law enforcement and intelligence officials in the U.S. and Canada have been monitoring the situation, stepping up patrols at Israeli government locations and Jewish institutions in major cities.

Publication date: February 7, 2012