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Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Eritrean Christians Find No Escape from Persecution
  • Call for Bible Ban in Pakistan Concerns Christians
  • Post-Election Violence in Nigeria Killed 800, Group Says
  • UN Body Concerned over Disappearances in Tibet and China


Eritrean Christians Find No Escape from Persecution

Christians fleeing persecution in their home country of Eritrea have also faced severe trials in Egypt, according to Barnabus Fund. The Christian Post reports that imprisonment, torture, beatings and sexual assault have met hundreds of Eritrean refugees. Egypt is the most common destination for Christians who escape Eritrea; many die on the harsh 900-mile journey or are gunned down at border crossings. But many still risk the trip when faced with a lifetime in Eritrea, where Christians are singled out, imprisoned in metal containers, tortured, and even killed. Barnabus Fund describes their plight as "horrendous." Their plight became even worse at the end of 2010, when an Eritrean governor ordered a purge against Christians.

Call for Bible Ban in Pakistan Concerns Christians

Christians in Pakistan are condemning the "distorted" view of the Bible that led one Muslim cleric to call for a ban on Bibles in the country. Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, leader of the political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, recently announced that he had petitioned the Supreme Court to ban the Bible. According to Christian Today, he claims certain passages are blasphemous and offensive to Muslims. The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which provides free legal support to persecuted Christians in Pakistan, calls his call "reckless." “At a time when Christians are being subjected to wave after wave of unprovoked attacks by Muslims, calls to ban the Bible are not only reckless but life-endangering," said the coordinator of CLAAS UK, Nasir Saeed. “Banning the Bible because it is ‘blasphemous’ would imply that anyone who even reads or owns a Bible is by default a criminal, i.e. all Christians."

Post-Election Violence in Nigeria Killed 800, Group Says

Riots in the weeks following last month’s presidential election killed at least 800 people, according to an international human rights group. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that the victims across 12 northern states died in rioting that broke out after the main opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, was defeated by incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from southern Nigeria. HRW urged Nigeria to “promptly” investigate the violence and prosecute the perpetrators. “The April elections were heralded as among the fairest in Nigeria’s history, but they also were among the bloodiest,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at HRW. The group based its report on 55 interviews with witnesses and victims of the violence, including Christian and Muslim clergy, and police officials.

UN Body Concerned over Disappearances in Tibet and China

According to China Aid, the United Nations group expressed serious concern Friday at the recent wave of forced disappearances that have allegedly taken place in China. “Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law. Even short-term secret detentions can qualify as enforced disappearances,” the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said. “There can never be an excuse to disappear people, especially when those persons are peacefully expressing their dissent with the Government of their country.” The Working Group has received recently multiple reports of a number of persons having being subject to enforced disappearance, including lawyers Teng Biao, Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, and Tang Jingling.