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Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 25, 2007

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

  • China Puts Evangelical Christians on Potential Olympic Troublemakers List
  • Muslim Activists Block Christian Prayer Center
  • Egyptian Police Release Christian to Her Violent Family
  • Barna Survey Finds Evangelicals, Atheists Consistent in Respective Faith and Practice

China Puts Evangelical Christians on Potential Olympic Troublemakers List

The Christian Post reports that Chinese intelligence is reportedly compiling a list of potential troublemakers at next year’s Olympics Games in Beijing. The list includes human rights activists, non-governmental organizations, and evangelical Christians. Some sources believe that Christians are threatening demonstrations against China’s religious freedom violations, while others might suggest that Beijing use its oil-buying leverage with Sudan to end the Darfur genocide, according to The AP. “Demonstrations of all kinds are a concern, including anti-American demonstrations,” said a consultant who works for Beijing’s Olympic organizers. Meanwhile, protests have already been mounted in the U.S. against the Beijing Olympics. Several demonstrations were held in Washington by Christians and human rights activists to urge the U.S. government to press China on its treatment of North Korean refugees using the Olympics as leverage.

Muslim Activists Block Christian Prayer Center

According to an AsiaNews story carried on Spero News, Muslim fundamentalists continued their action against the Carmelite Prayer Centre in West Java, Indonesia. As a result, an international conference scheduled to take place at the center was postponed. Representatives from the center and fundamentalist groups met, but instead of working as an inter-faith dialogue, the meeting was used as to pressure Catholics to call off the conference. After talking to some 50 Muslim representatives and postponing the conference, Sister Lisa Martosudjito PKarm, the Centre’s spokesperson, said her convent had legally applied for an authorization to hold the conference on July 8. Still, she said, “if our Muslim brothers feel that the procedures were inappropriate then we shall suspend the conference.”

Egyptian Police Release Christian to Her Violent Family

Egyptian police in Alexandria who last week arrested a Christian convert woman this week handed her over to her fanatical Islamist family, who beat her before driving her away, Compass Direct News reports. Eyewitnesses said family members of Shaymaa (Eman) Muhammad al-Sayed, 26, dragged her screaming from the Bab-Sharky police station where she had been closeted. After severely beating her in the Shatby Cemetery behind the police station at 4 p.m., she was then forced into a family microbus and driven away. One week ago, on July 16, these same family members openly threatened to kill Al-Sayed for leaving Islam to become a Christian, after spotting her walking through a fair in Alexandria. Local police promptly took her into “protective custody,” but instead of protection, local officials have subjected her to days of severe physical and emotional torture including electrical shocks, beatings and being photographed naked.

Barna Survey Finds Evangelicals, Atheists Consistent in Respective Faith and Practice

The Barna Group's latest report, which examines the self-image of Americans, revealed distinctions within Christian believers and non-believers alike. Among the findings: evangelical Christians comprise only eight percent of the population, but stand out from the rest of Christianity as more spiritual and active in faith. Evangelicals are more likely than non-evangelical Christians to see themselves as fulltime servants of God; deeply spiritual; more likely to seek to persuade others to adopt their views; and less likely to have an 'open mind' toward alternative moral views. George Barna said in the report, "There are important distinctions between evangelical Christians and other segments within the Christian community. That small eight percent segment of the public is substantially different from others in how they apply their faith principles to every dimension of their life. The only other faith group demonstrating similar consistency between faith and practice were atheists, whose fundamental dismissal of social conventions and participation in favor of more self-centered views and behaviors helped them to stand out from the crowd in a different way."