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Religion Today Summaries - July 7, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 7, 2008

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

  • Iran ‘Temporarily’ Releases Badly Injured Christian
  • Bishops Calls British Public to Help Restore Zimbabwe
  • Algeria: Christians Sentenced for Spreading Faith
  • Group Asks for Divine Intervention to Ease Oil Prices

Iran ‘Temporarily’ Releases Badly Injured Christian

After four weeks in police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar was released “temporarily” last week to return to his home in Tehran, according to Compass Direct News. A doctor summoned to Namvar’s home after his release last Thursday (June 26) administered medicines and serum to treat the badly beaten prisoner. Arrested on May 31 from his home in Tehran, the convert from Islam was kept incommunicado until his release. “They put a great deal of pressure on his body and his mind,” an Iranian Christian told Compass. “No one knows exactly what they did to him during those four weeks.” Noting that government authorities know a great deal about Namvar’s Christian activities and want to punish him, the source said, “We praise the Lord that they have not killed him.” Last week local secret police authorities demanded that Namvar’s family put up just over US$43,000 in bail to secure his release. When relatives requested a receipt for the cash they handed over, police refused. “Don’t say anything,” a police official reportedly ordered them. “Give thanks to God that we are not keeping him under arrest.”

Bishops Calls British Public to Help Restore Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe's political crisis deepens socially and economicly, the Archbishop of York has called for Britain not to forget the country, but actively work for restoration. “I am inviting people to work with me for the restoration of Zimbabwe in order that peace, prosperity and the rule of law are restored to that once great and prosperous land of hope for Africa which has become a waste land of oppression, poverty and disease,” Dr. John Sentamu said. He encouraged people to offer prayer, money and practical support as part of the effort. A special service will be held in Westminster on July 11 for that purpose. “We need to remember there is only one race – the human race – and in joining together to restore Zimbabwe, we ease the sufferings of our brothers and sisters."

Algeria: Christians Sentenced for Spreading Faith

Compass Direct News reports that a court in western Algeria convicted two Muslim converts to Christianity yesterday for illegally spreading their faith. The court in Tissemsilt, 110 miles southwest of Algiers, handed Rachid Muhammad Essaghir, 37, and Djallal Dhamani six-month suspended sentences and 100,000-dinar (US$1,660) fines. The men were found guilty of “distributing documents to shake the faith of Muslims.” The case has received both local and international publicity following a wave of trials this year against Algerian Christians for evangelism and illegally practicing their faith. Essaghir has now moved from Tiaret to the coastal city of Oran with his wife and 1-year-old daughter after police shut down his Internet café in April, although many such cafés operate without this permission. “Essaghir is doing very well, it’s a miracle,” said a close friend who spoke with the Christian following yesterday’s trial. Despite his numerous convictions, the friend said, “he doesn’t care anymore; God is in control.”

Group Asks for Divine Intervention to Ease Oil Prices

As the price of oil continues to rise, some are turning to God and prayer for an answer to their financial troubles, according to Cybercast News Service. The Pray at the Pump Movement, founded by Rocky Twyman, has been holding prayer vigils at gas stations across the country. On Monday, Twyman decided to take his movement from Exxon and Shell stations straight to the steps of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., hoping to encourage the oil-rich country to raise the amount of barrels they release each day. Twyman, who is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, spent the afternoon outside of the embassy praying and asking passersby to sign his petition for the release of more oil, which he hopes to deliver to the Saudi oil minister. "Our people are really suffering through this crisis," Twyman told Cybercast News Service. "We need the Saudis to release at least 1.2 [million] barrels of oil per day for about the next six months until we can get everything settled in America."