Religion Today Summaries - July 26, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 26, 2007

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

  • Indian Supreme Court again Postpones Dalit Decision
  • Egypt's Religious Advisor: Muslims Can Choose Own Religion
  • Group Calls for Justice in Murder of Evangelist in Ethiopia
  • Author Calls Flight 93 Memorial a 'Huge Outdoor Mosque'

Indian Supreme Court again Postpones Dalit Decision

Gospel for Asia reports that India's Supreme Court once again postponed making a decision in a case involving the equal rights of Dalit ("Untouchable") Christians during a July 19 hearing in New Delhi. The justices also questioned the motives of Christians who support the change in the law, alleging that by supporting the cause of the Dalits, Christians in India are admitting that they practice caste-based discrimination. The court required that a government committee assigned to study the issue appear before the bench for another hearing in eight weeks. They are charged with providing additional information and asked to clearly spell out the government's stand on the issue. "The Bible teaches us that all people are created in the image of God and all are equal in His sight," said K.P. Yohannan, GFA president. "That is why Christians are working to help Dalits escape from the oppressive caste system that has kept them in virtual slavery for over 3,000 years."

Egypt's Religious Advisor: Muslims Can Choose Own Religion

According to a report by Africasia, Egypt's official religious advisor has ruled that Muslims are free to change their faith as it is a matter between an individual and God. The move could have implications for Egyptian Christians. "The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can," Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said Tuesday in a Washington Post forum. "The act of abandoning one's religion is a sin punishable by God on the Day of Judgement. If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment," he wrote. In many Muslim societies, those who convert to another religion are considered apostates and can be subject to capital punishment. Attempts by Muslims in Egypt to convert have been hindered by the state's refusal to change a person's official documents. Some cases have led to arrests and imprisonment.

Group Calls for Justice in Murder of Evangelist in Ethiopia

More than three months after an evangelist was killed by Muslim militants in Ethiopia, no one has been charged for the crime, a Washington, D.C.-based human rights group reports. Baptist Press reports that the evangelist - known as Taddesse - was murdered March 26 in a mosque in Jimma. According to International Christian Concern, the only action taken in the case has been that a guard at the mosque was detained but later freed. Despite calls by church leaders for the arrest and prosecution of the killers, authorities have refused to respond. "By failing to prosecute the killers of Evangelist Taddesse, Ethiopian authorities are violating their obligation to protect human rights and their commitment to do so in agreeing to international human rights instruments like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," an ICC statement said.

Author Calls Flight 93 Memorial a 'Huge Outdoor Mosque'

According to WorldNetDaily, a new book by Alec Rawls titled Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93 documents that the planned crescent-shaped "memorial to heroes" in Pennsylvania is "a huge outdoor mosque that pays homage to Islam." Rawls provides a long list of Islamic features in the memorial, most notably the giant central crescent. A person facing into the half-mile wide crescent is oriented toward Mecca, just as he or she would be in any mosque when facing into a crescent-shaped, Mecca-pointing "mihrab." Rawls says the mihrab is the central feature around which every mosque is built. The WorldNet story goes on to say that, "Rawls said it seems impossible such startling revelations could go unreported, but newspapers have ignored him. He learned from a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that editors knew about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent in September 2005 when the design was first unveiled. But the editors decided the information should not be published, accusing critics of being paranoid bigots." Rawls plans to be at a meeting Saturday when the design will be submitted for final approval. So convinced is Rawls that he is running full-color ads in the Somerset Daily American, "providing readers with graphical proof" of many features which inidcate the memorial is actually an outdoor mosque. Pennsylvania pastor Rev. Ron McRae has also fought the memorial's design. "This is a memorial to the terrorists who killed those people, not a memorial to the folks who died there innocently," McRae said.