Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 17, 2010

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 17, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Christians Protest Killing Trend in Egypt
  • Security Not Improved for Asia Bibi
  • Anger after EU Leaves Christmas Out of School Diary
  • Clergy Urge Congress to Unite behind Push for Civility   

Christians Protest Killing Trend in Egypt

Following the death of a Christian man at the hands of a Muslim policeman, hundreds of Christians in Egypt took to the streets to protest on Wednesday. The attack followed the New Year's Day bombing of a church that killed 25 Christians and injured dozens of others in the city of Alexandria. Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. Carl Moeller told Mission News Network that both attacks are part of an alarming surge of violence targeting believers. "Islam has called upon holy warriors to use Christians as legitimate targets," he said. "Christians are seen by many extremists in this society as a parasite. It's time that the Egyptian government and the world stood up and said, ‘Enough is enough. We will not allow extremists to dictate the level of violence in our country like this.'

Security Not Improved for Asia Bibi

Pakistan has taken mo extra security measures to protect the life of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, despite multiple death threats. ASSIST News Service reports that the severity of threats spiked after the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. Bibi remains incarcerated in the women's barrack in Sheikhupura district jail along with 15 or 16 other detainees. A provincial intelligence report found that just one female warden has been assigned to her inside the jail and five police constables deputed to secure the jail's perimeter. Most of the guards, however, "are not vigilant and most of the times they are absent," the report found. The Ministry of Interior has also asked the Punjab government to increase security for Bibi.

Anger after EU Leaves Christmas Out of School Diary

Christians within the European Union are accusing the EU Commission of deliberately excluding Christian holiday from diaries for school children. Christian Today reports that Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter are missing, while Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim festivals are scattered throughout. Three million of the diaries were printed for 2011, with 350,000 copies being sent to schools in the UK. Johanna Touzel, spokesman for the Catholic Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, said the absence of Christian festivals was "just incredible", according to the Daily Mail. She noted that millions of Europeans still celebrate Christmas and Easter. "If the Commission does not mark Christmas as a feast in its diaries then it should be working as normal on December 25," she said.

Clergy Urge Congress to Unite behind Push for Civility   

A coalition of more than 50 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders sent an open letter to Congress urging a "time of soul searching" and national dialogue about "violent and vitriolic political rhetoric." Religion News Service reports that the letter was released Thursday, a day after President Obama led a memorial service for the six people killed and nearly two dozen wounded by a gunman in Tucson. Accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner's motivations in targeting the Tucson meet-and-greet for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., remain unclear. The clergy statement, printed in a full-age ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, was signed by megachurch pastors Bishop T.D. Jakes and the Rev. Joel Hunter, Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, Nathan J.Diament of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, Sayyid M. Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America, and religious leaders from Arizona.