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Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 14, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 14, 2008

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

  • Abducted Iraqi Archbishop Found Dead
  • TV Ministries Face March 31 Deadline
  • Ethiopian Muslims Kill Worshiper in Church Attacks
  • Burma: Thousands Of Civilians Displaced In Fresh Attacks


Abducted Iraqi Archbishop Found Dead

According to Christian Solidarity International, a kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found dead yesterday in eastern Mosul. Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho’s apparent kidnappers had contacted the church and his relatives requesting ransom for his release. On March 13 the kidnappers notified relatives that Rahho was dead and directed them to his body. Rahho's death is the latest in a string of attacks on Iraq’s dwindling Christian community. Christian Solidarity International reps on the ground in Iraq have documented numerous recent accounts of bombings, beheadings, kidnappings, death threats, vandalism and discrimination towards Christians who are not just caught in the crossfire, but are actual targets.

TV Ministries Face March 31 Deadline

Baptist Press reports three television ministries have refused to cooperate with a U.S. Senate committee's probe into their financial records and have been given a new deadline for providing the requested information, according to the panel's leadership. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D.-Mont., and the panel's top Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, released March 12 new letters they had sent to Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, and Eddie Long. They asked the televangelists to provide the documentation they are seeking by March 31. The senators expressed hope the committee would receive the information from the preachers "without resorting to compulsory process," an apparent reference to the possibility of subpoenas. Three other televangelists have complied or indicated they would comply with a series of questions submitted in November by Grassley, according to the committee leadership.

Ethiopian Muslims Kill Worshiper in Church Attacks

Eight Muslims wielding machetes and knives broke into two village churches in southern Ethiopia earlier this month and began wounding worshipers, instantly killing one Christian. Compass Direct reports Tulu Mosisa of Kale Hiwot church died after a machete blow nearly beheaded him, according to an eyewitness. Another two members of the Kale Hiwot and Birhane Wongel Baptist churches in the remote village of Nensebo Chebi both lost a hand each in the March 2 attacks, and a 5-year-old boy is still hospitalized after his arm was slashed to the bone. A total of 23 Christians from the two congregations were injured before local militia officers drove off the attackers, who launched what one observer called “a seemingly well-planned,” simultaneous assault midway through Sunday worship services. Located 400 kilometers (240 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa, Nensebo Chebi is a remote village in the Bale Zone of Ethiopia’s predominantly Muslim Oromiya state.

Burma: Thousands Of Civilians Displaced In Fresh Attacks

ASSIST News reports that the Burma Army has launched fresh attacks on civilians in northern Karen State this month, causing the displacement of over 2,100 villagers. According to the Free Burma Rangers, a relief organization working in the conflict areas of eastern Burma, the attacks are “the largest against civilians in northern Karen State since the Burma Army completed the re-supply of its camps and construction of roads at the end of 2007.” Over 30,000 people are displaced in northern Karen State, and it is estimated that there are over one million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma altogether. A spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said, “The Burma Army attacked several villages in northern Papun District, Karen State, on 4 March, according to the Free Burma Rangers. Nine homes and three farm houses were burned down in Ga Yu Der village. The Burma Army also fired eight mortar rounds into Tay Bo Kee village. In both cases villagers fled before the troops came, and are now on the run in the jungle.