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Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah Rages
  • Pakistani Christian Escapes Abusive Husband
  • Mission Complex Vandalized in Karnataka, India
  • Pastor in India Arrested During Sunday Worship

Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah Rages

The latest conflict between Israel and Hezbollah began when two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, and eight others were killed. In the weeks since that event, according to the Lebanese prime minister, Israeli attacks have inflicted billions of dollars of damage. Though Hezbollah’s hundreds of missiles have not caused as much damage in Israel, the people are fearful to venture out. Tens of thousands of internally displaced Lebanese are seeking refuge in the central areas of Beirut, and the number continues to grow. Christian Aid-supported ministries located in Lebanon have mobilized their resources to help where they are able, as the Lebanese government has provided little support. The leaders of one indigenous ministry, which plants churches in the Bekaa Valley, opened their home to the people living there who are without electricity, food and water. In addition, the ministry is helping more than 50 people from southern Lebanon. A team of people has also been assembled to help more than 450 people crowding into eight classrooms inside a nearby school. Leaders of indigenous ministries in the area have unanimously appealed for prayer.

Pakistani Christian Escapes Abusive Husband

A Christian girl has gone into hiding in Pakistan to escape Muslim in-laws who beat and raped her for fleeing her forced marriage and refusing to practice Islam. Asya Khadim, 15, won a divorce from her abusive Muslim husband in February and sought shelter with a local aid organization to avoid reprisal attacks. Khadim had been married to Tanveer Qadir for almost 13 months when her mother filed the divorce case on her behalf in January 2006. “They tried to force me to read the Quran,” the Christian girl told Compass Direct News. “My husband beat me every day for two months because I refused.” Khadim’s case highlights ongoing national debate over the controversial Hudood Ordinances that some say encourage domestic violence against women.

Mission Complex Vandalized in Karnataka, India

Hindu extremists vandalized an indigenous church and ministry complex in Shivanapura district, Karnataka state, on Saturday night (July 15), rampaging through facilities and locking terrified residents in their dormitories. Compass Direct News reports that shortly before midnight, Hindu extremists entered the Shivanapura Marthoma Mission, stoning facilities and smashing nearly all window panes. Rev. Alexander Tharakan, 34, his wife, his 2-year-old daughter and his 70-year-old-mother awoke to the sounds of the destruction and the jeers of the extremists. Their door was latched from outside. Four buildings were damaged, the pastor said. “My little girl is still frightened,” he added, “especially at nights.”

Pastor in India Arrested During Sunday Worship

Police on Sunday (July 16) arrested Pastor Om Prakash Pandey while he was leading worship at his independent church in the village of Daksinwara, in the Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh state. The 27-year-old pastor was taken to the Kurebhar police station, where Police Inspector Jawahar Lal Saroj and others beat him mercilessly, according to sources who spoke under condition of anonymity. He was released on Monday (July 17) without any charges filed against him. Ram Gopal Varma, headman of Daksinwara village, told Compass Direct News  that Hindus had objected to Pandey conducting Bible classes for children of tribal people in the remote, Hindu-majority village. The headman said that villagers roughed him up to serve as a stern warning to stop his “proselytizing” activities.