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Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 15, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 15, 2008

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

  • Nine Iraqi Christian Churches and Monasteries Bombed Last Week
  • IFCJ Helps Israel's Minorities with Essential Needs
  • 'Refreshing' Archbishop is Anglican of the Year
  • Ayatollah Says Islam Honors Women, West Abuses Them

Nine Iraqi Christian Churches and Monasteries Bombed Last Week

Religious persecution continues in Iraq as nine Christian houses of worship were bombed this week, says a release from Christian Solidarity International (CSI). The attackers used both car bombs and explosive charges in an effort to wipe out churches and monasteries in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk. At least six people were wounded. Concerned not only about saving lives and securing the country for Christian refugees to return home, CSI foresees the possible "extinction" of the Christian community in Iraq. Working to turn the tide, CSI is launching "Save Iraqi Christians," a movement calling for greater action against the crisis facing Christians in Iraq. CSI is also providing emergency humanitarian aid, including food and basic items, but physical protection is a must.

IFCJ Helps Israel's Minorities with Essential Needs

In the State of Israel, significant segments of the Arab and Druze communities struggle to make it through the day, according to a release from Religion News Service. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, is proud to be a regular and significant supporter of Israel's Arab and Druze minorities, totaling nearly 1.6 million people (or approximately 25% of Israel’s overall population). Since 2003, The Fellowship has provided $4.86 million to 86 Arab and Druze communities across the country (this includes projects that have already been approved for 2008). "Just as Israel offers citizenship and its benefits to Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze alike, The Fellowship is committed to helping all Israelis," said Rabbi Eckstein, IFCJ Founder & President. "We don't ask people who are hungry or in need to disclose their religious or ethnic background - we simply offer them our support." IFCJ assistance is concentrated in several key areas of support among Israel's Arab and Druze communities.

'Refreshing' Archbishop is Anglican of the Year

ASSIST News Service reports that the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has been named “Anglican of the Year” by members of the Church of England. Dr. Sentamu, the Ugandan-born Archbishop who won international plaudits after he cut up his clerical collar on live television in protest at the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, beat out the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop of Rochester Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, and Archbishop of Nigeria Dr. Peter Akinola rounded out the top five. The survey of Anglican synod members that determined the results also showed that more than half believe that the British government is failing to defend the place of Christianity in public life.

Ayatollah Says Islam Honors Women, West Abuses Them

CNSNews.com reports that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who rules over a nation where men are allowed to have four permanent wives and as many "temporary" wives as they like, declared in a recent lecture to Iranian students that Iran honors women, while the West abuses them. The ayatollah said one indication of this is that women in Iran are forced to wear the hijab -- clothing that covers much or all of a woman's head, face and body -- while women in the West are not forced to wear it. In the West's "sensationalism concerning women's affairs, they blame us by saying: You have made hijab compulsory," the ayatollah said in a January 3 lecture to a conference of Iranian students. "They themselves have made lack of hijab compulsory." Wearing the hijab, he said, "is aimed at honoring women, whereas that [the practices of the West] aim to abuse and insult women." As evidence for this argument, the ayatollah told the Iranian students to consider the way women are used in Western advertising. "In effect, they have been treating women like a commodity, like another of their products. If you were to look at the magazines, which are published in the West, you would see that they advertise a commodity for sale next to the naked picture of a woman. Can you imagine a bigger insult to women?" According to the March 2007 State Department report on human rights practices in Iran, a woman can be whipped in Iran for not wearing the hijab. Under Iran's Islamic code, a man may marry four regular wives and innumerable temporary wives.