Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 1, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 1, 2010

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

  • Algerian Muslims Block Christmas Service
  • Pakistani PM Promises Property Rights to Christians
  • Tucsonans Hold Prayer Vigil for Activist Detained in N. Korea

Algerian Muslims Block Christmas Service

Compass Direct News reports that nearly 50 Muslims in northern Algeria blocked Christians from holding a Christmas service on Saturday (Dec. 26) to protest a new church building. Tafat Church is located in Tizi-Ouzou, a city 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the Algerian capital, Algiers. The local residents were reportedly irritated at finding that a church building with many visitors from outside the area had opened near their houses. A local paper highlighted that the residents feared their youth would be lured into the church with promises of money or cell phones. "This land is the land of Islam! Go pray somewhere else," some of the protestors said. Protestors also reportedly threatened to kill the church pastor, Mustafa Krireche. One of Algeria's Christian leaders, Youssef Ourahmane, said he could not recall another display of such outrage from Algerians against Christians.

Pakistani PM Promises Property Rights to Christians

ASSIST News Service reports that Pakistan's Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, is finally delivering on some long-standing promises to minorities in Pakistan. At an "Interfaith Christmas Celebrations" ceremony on Dec. 18, Gilani vowed to give land property rights to Christian slum dwellers of Islamabad. According to one source, "The announcement sent a wave of joy among slum dwellers and infused them with hope of becoming owners of houses they have been living in for several years." Gilani also announced construction of non-Muslim prayer rooms in Pakistani prisons; a shortened sentence for minor crimes committed during religious festivals, extending a law that already exists for Muslims; and the official classification of "Masihi," Christians' preferred term for themselves, instead of "Essahi" in the future.

Tucsonans Hold Prayer Vigil for Activist Detained in N. Korea

KOLD News reports that a Tucson, Az., church held a vigil Wednesday evening for a member of their congregation believed to be detained in North Korea. Colleagues of Robert Park say the activist crossed the border into North Korea and was arrest on Christmas Day. Park was reportedly carrying a letter for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. "Robert is a rare individual," said Pastor John Benson of Life in Christ Community Church, who ordained Park as a missionary in 2007. "We're really praying that somehow Robert will get an audience with Kim Jong Il. I know that sounds pretty radical and kind of crazy, but it wouldn't be the first time I've seen Robert attempt something impossible, and it ends up happening." The church will hold another prayer Vigil for Park tomorrow afternoon.