Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Three Pakistani Family Members Accused of Blasphemy
  • Muslims Attempt to Behead 'Apostate' in Egypt
  • UK Anglicans Defeat Proposals on Women Bishops
  • Clean Water Efforts Continue in Haiti

Three Pakistani Family Members Accused of Blasphemy

ASSIST News Service reports that three Christians of the same family from Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, have been targeted by Pakistan's blasphemy laws. According to the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), Yousaf Masih, Bashiran bibi and Zahid Masih are all accused of desecrating the Koran. Yousaf Masih and his wife, Bashiran bibi, lived in "abject poverty" in a rented house which had a bathroom without a roof. Masih's cousin brought a hard plastic sheet to cover the room to help, but a Muslim neighbor claimed that the sheet "had some Quranic verses inscribed on it." Masih then argued with his neighbor, Muhammad Imran, which ultimately led other Muslims to register a complaint with police. The penalty for desecrating a Koran in Pakistan can be life in prison.

Muslims Attempt to Behead 'Apostate' in Egypt

ASSIST News Service reports that an Egyptian convert to Christianity narrowly escaped another attempt on his life on July 5. Maher el-Gowhary, who publicly converted from Islam in 2008, and his 15-year-old daughter, Dina, had left their hiding spot in Cairo with his lawyer when two unknown men on a motorbike attacked him with daggers. "They were aiming at my neck to behead me," Maher told the U.S.-based Hope Coptic TV Channel. Maher was stabbed, but not fatally injured. "Had it not been for the interference of passers-by who were unaware of my identity and my efforts to quickly stand up and defend myself, I would have been dead by now," he said. Maher and Dina have sought asylum in the U.S. after multiple threats on their lives. Officials seized their passports at Cairo airport in September and have no returned them.

UK Anglicans Defeat Proposals on Women Bishops

Christian Today reports that the Church of England came closer to a church-wide division over the weekend, when amendments mitigating the authority of potential female bishops failed. The main compromise, offered by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, would have let a male a female bishop share jurisdiction in conservative dioceses. Dioceses could request the oversight of a male bishop if desired, effectively limiting women bishops to certain Episcopal functions. The amendment passed two of the General Synod's three houses - Laity, Clergy and Bishops - failing in the Clergy House. Although the archbishops made clear that the vote on the amendment was not a vote of confidence in them, the defeat will be seen as an embarrassing blow to their authority.

Clean Water Efforts Continue in Haiti

The DeMoss Group reports that efforts to provide clean water after the Jan. 12 earthquake continue in Haiti. Some 103 Water Missions International unique water treatment systems - with a capacity to supply safe water to support 309,000 people every day - are on the ground today. "Our mission is to save lives by providing safe water solutions, not just in the short run, but for generations through our self-sustaining treatment systems," said George Greene III, the chemical engineer who founded Water Missions International along with his wife nine years ago. The 103 units on the ground in Haiti are able to deliver the equivalent of 4.5 million bottles of water every day.