Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 31, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 31, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • U.S. Muslim Population to Double in 20 Years
  • Six Villages Attacked Overnight in Plateau State
  • Supreme Court in India Rejects Bail of Orissa Legislator
  • Historic Lausanne Declaration Calls World's Evangelicals to Action

U.S. Muslim Population to Double in 20 Years

The U.S. Muslim population is expected to double over the next 20 years, fueled by immigration and higher-than-average fertility rates, according to a new report released Jan. 27. The authors of the report, "The Future of the Global Muslim Population" from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, said fears of a Muslim takeover of Western society or Muslim global domination are overblown. They estimate the number of U.S. Muslims will rise to 6.2 million, or 1.7 percent of the overall population, in 2030. According to the report, the world's Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 percent in the next 20 years -- rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030 -- compared to general population growth rate of about 16 percent. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 percent of the world's total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 percent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

Six Villages Attacked Overnight in Plateau State

Five people are dead after Fulani and Hausa Muslims attacked six different villages near Nigeria's Plateau State overnight on Jan. 27. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that three of those killed were shot by soldiers who mistook them for attackers. The attack occurred between midnight and 3a.m., but soldiers did not arrive until 5a.m. The soldiers later arrested 29 men believed to have been involved in the attacks, who were heavily armed with automatic weapons, axes and machetes. The next day a number of villagers burnt down some nearby Fulani settlements in reprisal, forcing the inhabitants to flee. CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, "While we are pleased that some attackers have been caught, it is regrettable that innocent villagers appear to have been victimized once again by the security forces following their own delayed arrival at the scene."

Supreme Court in India Rejects Bail of Orissa Legislator

Compass Direct News reports that India's Supreme Court has rejected the bail order for Hindu nationalist Orissa state legislator Manoj Pradhan following his conviction in the murder of a Christian. Pradhan, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was convicted on June 29, 2010, of "causing grievous hurt" and "rioting" and sentenced to seven years of prison in the murder of Parikhita Nayak, who died on Aug. 27, 2008. In its decision, the Supreme Court ordered the High Court to reconsider its decision to grant him bail. Pradhan was granted bail just a week after his conviction on the grounds of having won a state assembly election in 2009. Parikhita Nayak's widow had challenged the granting of bail before the Supreme Court, alleging he has intimidated the court and witnesses into allowing bail. Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, told Compass that he was pleased. "Pradhan deserves to be behind bars in more than one case, and it was a travesty of justice that he was roaming around terrorizing people," Dayal said.

Historic Lausanne Declaration Calls World's Evangelicals to Action

On Friday, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization has released Part 2 of its call to action to world evangelicals. More than 4,000 evangelicals from 198 countries met in Cape Town, South Africa, in October for the Congress. Part 1 of the document emphasized the call to love because God first loved us. Christian Today reports that Part 2 builds on discussions at Cape Town, naming the most important priorities for evangelism worldwide. It makes a number of specific calls, including the call to proclaim the truth through word and deed, to be ethical in evangelism, and to return to "humility, integrity and simplicity". Part of this return includes renouncing false gods and idols, including the idolatry of "disordered sexuality," power, success and greed. The statement also calls for the worldwide church to unite. "A divided Church has no message for a divided world. Our failure to live in reconciled unity is a major obstacle to authenticity and effectiveness in mission," it states.