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Religion Today Summaries, January 22, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 22, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Al Qaida Prepares Attacks, Kidnappings Against "Zionists" and Americans
  • Muslims Angered by Church’s Quran Sign
  • Colleagues Of Slain Missionaries Pray for Murderer
  • Pakistani Police Arrest Suspect in Christmas Day Bombing

Al Qaida Prepares Attacks, Kidnappings Against "Zionists" and Americans
Stefan J. Bos

(ASSIST News) The al Qaida network that claimed the September 11 suicide attacks against the United States has ordered its members to abduct "Zionists" and carry out suicide bombings at embassies and airports around the world, reports said Tuesday, January 21.  In a letter that appeared on a Web site identified with al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the group called on members to rid the world of "non-believers," the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) News Service reported.  "Attempts must be made to abduct...one or two Americans or Zionists, focus on abducting journalists or famous people in order to pressure [the US or Israel]," al Qaida was quoted as telling its supporters.  It ordered members to target embassies all over the world that belong to "enemies," suggesting missile attacks against the buildings as "some of the embassies are located in areas suitable for missile attacks."  Al Qaida gives several examples of different ways to carry out attacks, including cars bombs detonated by remote control, or suicide bombers who detonate simultaneously to create a "greater effect."  www.assistnews.net

Muslims Angered by Church’s Quran Sign

(Charisma News) A Florida church has been criticized for its roadside sign that declares Islam's founder endorsed murder in the Quran.  Muslim groups have called on First Conservative Baptist Church in Jacksonville to remove the message that contrasts the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad.  Pastor Gene Youngblood defended his right to post the statement, reported the Associated Press (AP):  "First and foremost, are we not entitled to freedom of speech?"  He said that he had been threatened and his property vandalized, and he had needed to file 13 police reports since July.   The church sign declares: "Jesus Forbade Murder. Matthew 26:52. Muhammad Approved Murder. Surah 8:65."  But Muslim groups said that the passage cited from the Quran has nothing to do with murder.  "None of the translations...have translated it this way," said Zaid Malik, imam at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.  Ataf Ali, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, said attempts to talk with officials at the church had been rebuffed, the AP reported.  "All Americans must band together to condemn hate speech designed to divide our nation along religious and ethnic lines," he said.  www.charismanews.com

Colleagues Of Slain Missionaries Pray for Murderer

(Compass) The families and Christian colleagues of three American missionaries murdered by an Islamic militant at the Jibla Baptist Hospital in southern Yemen have sent word to the assassin that they forgive him for what he did.  Close friends on the hospital staff conveyed the message through an attorney to Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, 30, the self-confessed killer.  Dr. Martha Myers, hospital administrator William Koehn and purchasing agent Kathleen Gariety were shot and killed by Kamel on the morning of December 30 at the hospital compound.  Kamel indicated to government interrogators that by murdering missionaries, whom he accused of converting “dozens of Muslims” to Christianity, he had insured his entrance into heaven.  On December 31, hundreds of Yemenis gathered at the hospital to pay their respects to the slain missionaries, while others lined the road for a half-mile outside the hospital gates. The Christian emphasis on forgiveness was woven through the funeral “thanksgiving” service celebrated in Jibla, as well as in memorial services held later in Sanaa and in churches in the United States.

Pakistani Police Arrest Suspect in Christmas Day Bombing

(VOM-Canada) The Punjab police claim to have arrested one of the two men who threw bombs into a church in Chianwali, Pakistan on Christmas Day, killing three and wounding 14 others.  Authorities told the Pakistani newspaper, DAWN, that the suspect was arrested based on intelligence sources and that he has since confessed.  Authorities will not reveal his identity or if he has connections to any organization.  This arrest came only one day after more than 100 Pakistani Christians rallied in Lahore, calling on police to arrest those responsible for the attacks.  www.persecution.net