Religion Today Summaries - July 20, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 20, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Islamists in Pakistan Kill Two Christians at Courthouse
  • Eight Killed in Nigerian Christian Village
  • Adoption Increases Up 26 Percent for 2010, Bethany Says
  • Pastor Killed by Gunman in Dagestan

Islamists in Pakistan Kill Two Christians at Courthouse

International Christian Concern has learned that Islamists killed two Christians accused of blasphemy as they left court in Faisalabad, Pakistan Monday afternoon. Police were transporting the Christians from the court to jail when masked Islamists shot them to death. A policeman accompanying the Christians was also seriously wounded by the attackers, who escaped. Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajid Emmanuel were arrested on July 2 after Muslims accused them of writing a pamphlet with blasphemous remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. The charges were based on hand-written and photo-copied pamphlets with remarks Jonathan Racho, ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, said, "It's outrageous that the Islamists managed to kill the Christians while they were under police custody. This is another indication of the value and the status of Christians within Pakistan."

Eight Killed in Nigerian Christian Village

The Christian Post reports that eight people are dead after attackers targeted a Christian village near Jos, Nigeria on July 18. Seven houses and a church burned to the ground in Maza, and the wife, two children and grandson of a pastor were killed in the violence. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Umo told Agence France-Presse that the attackers shot sporadically in the air to lure sleeping residents outside their homes before they were killed. The attackers are believed to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Violent disputes between Nigeria's traditionally Christian south and traditionally Muslim north have flared since the start of this year. Local rights groups say that 1,500 people have been killed in the violence.

Adoption Increases Up 26 Percent for 2010, Bethany Says

Christian Newswire reports that attention to January's earthquake in Haiti seems to have triggered a rise in U.S. adoptions. Bethany Christian Services, the nation's largest adoption agency, says overall international and domestic adoption placements have risen 26 percent over the same time period in 2009. The organization says intercountry adoption placements up 66 percent and intercountry adoption inquiries ahead by more than 5,000 requests during the same six month time period of 2009, totaling an unprecedented 10,567 inquiries. Bethany ascribes these increases in part to the Haiti crisis and the need to find safe homes for children who lost one or both parents during the earthquake. "The figures Bethany released show strong improvement as we confront the global orphan crisis, but the need still remains as there are still an incredible number of orphaned children who wait for their 'forever family'," said Bill Blacquiere, president and CEO at Bethany Christian Services.

Pastor Killed by Gunman in Dagestan

ASSIST News Service reports that a pastor in the Dagestan region of Russia was killed as he left church on July 15. Artur Suleimanov, 49, died at a hospital an hour after opened fire on him in front of Hosanna House of Prayer in Makhachkala. "No one else was injured the attack, but witnesses of Suleimanov's murder suppose that the gunman's agenda for murdering a Christian pastor, such as Suleimanov, would most likely have to do with Islam supremacy," said a spokesperson for Barnabus Fund, which worked with the pastor. "Suleimanov was a convert himself from Islam, and he boldly led his congregation to Christ under protestant dogma, free from Islam's rule."