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Religion Today Summaries - July 28, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 28, 2009

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

  • Gunmen Kill Iraqi Christian outside Factory
  • Church in Somalia Growing Despite Turmoil
  • More Churches on the Real Estate Market
  • China: Uighur Christian Faces False Charges for Faith

Gunmen Kill Iraqi Christian outside Factory

AFP reports that a Christian man was shot dead outside a factory in the volatile Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday. Ala Bashir, a 30-year-old Christian, was killed after gunmen in four cars demanded to see his brother, who manages the soft drinks factory. Police say they are not sure if Bashir was killed because of his faith. Still, the incident only cements the sense of tension in Mosul, where approximately half of the city's once-vibrant Christian population has fled since 2003. Many of these families have left Iraq for low-paying jobs in Turkey or Syria, while some have left the area for the West. Earlier this month, bomb attacks on seven churches in Baghdad and Mosul killed four Christians and injured 32 others.

Church in Somalia Growing Despite Turmoil

Mission News Network reports that Somalia's Christians have a long road ahead of them. "Anything that goes into Somalia, whether it's human aid or relief supplies or some attempt to provoke stability, just seems to get sucked up in chaos. And in today's reality, Christians are bearing the brunt of that," said Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. At least eight Christians have been killed by al-Shabaab insurgents over the last month. "Most Christians in extreme persecution are not asking to be permanently removed from persecution, to become refugees in some other country; but they are actually asking for the strength and the capacity to stand strong in the midst of that persecution," he continued.

More Churches on the Real Estate Market

San Francisco Chronicle reports that churches in the Bay area are weathering the current real estate market much like private citizens. About 40 houses of worship are on the market, some up for sale by shrinking or skittish congregations. Financing such large spaces can be difficult, but most churches still find new life with a second congregation. Often, these congregations look different from the first. "A lot of the church purchasers are ethnically distinct communities looking for their own space to maintain their language, culture and religion," said Barry Willbanks, a Coldwell Banker agent in Menlo Park, specializing in church real estate. "They tend to be the more theologically conservative groups who offer something distinct from the broader culture."

China: Uighur Christian Faces False Charges for Faith

Christian Today reports that a Uighur Christian in China will soon face trial behind closed doors. Alimujiang Yimiti was initially charged with "illegal religious infiltration," but the accusations were later changed to those relating to state secrets and espionage. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights group, brought Yimiti's case to a UN Working Group last year. Since then, Working Group has maintained that his imprisonment is "arbitrary" and on account of his faith. "His case symbolizes the continuing repression of Christians in China and is a sign of the wider human rights violations still taking place," said Alexa Papadouris, CSW’s Advocacy Director.