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Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 6, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 6, 2009

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

  • Sudan Expels Aid Groups After Arrest Warrant
  • Time-Zone Crossing Prayer Wave to Circle Planet
  • Church in Kenya Struggling after Islamists Destroy Building
  • Azerbaijan to Further Restrict Religious Freedom


Sudan Expels Aid Groups after Arrest Warrant

The Associated Press reports that Sudan's government has issued a further response to an International Criminal Court warrant for its president. At least 10 of the largest humanitarian organizations at work in Darfur were ordered to leave on Wednesday, abandoning efforts that more than 2 million Sudanese heavily rely on. "It is absurd that we as an independent organization are caught up in a political and judicial process," the operational director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Holland, Arjan Hehenkamp said. Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha insists that the groups told to leave "violated laws and regulations." In addition to MSF-Holland, Oxfam, CARE, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, the Norweigan Refugee Council, the International Rescue Committee, Action Contre la Faim, Solidarites and CHF International were ordered to leave.

Time-Zone Crossing Prayer Wave to Circle Planet

The Christian Post reports that youth worldwide are circling the globe with prayer. "Shockwave," a 72-hour global prayer event organized by Open Doors, began early today (Mar. 6) in New Zealand. Events are slated in at least 30 countries, including India, Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, Ireland, Norway, Germany, Brazil and the United States. Each event focuses on youth praying together for the persecuted church. “This is truly a witness of the unity of the body of Christ when youth from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and regions of the world join to pray for one cause – to lift up and support through prayer God’s suffering children,” said Scott Ahern, director of Innovative Strategies for Open Doors USA. “I encourage you to journey with us for this exciting international event.”

Church in Kenya Struggling after Islamists Destroy Building

Compass Direct News reports that six months after a gang of Muslim youths ruined a church building in northern Kenya, Christians say officials have done nothing to punish the culprits or restore their structure. On a sunny afternoon last Sept. 14, when angry Muslim youths threw more than 400 members of the Redeemed Gospel Church in Garissa out of their church building, the Christians hoped they would be able to return to the ruins of their former structure. “After six months in the open, the church feels tired and cheated,” said pastor David Matolo. “We are fed up with the empty promises from the government administration.” He said the church, which began worshipping in Garissa in early 2001 with only a dozen members, is fast shrinking. “Our church membership has decreased, which is of great concern to me,” he told Compass.

Azerbaijan to Further Restrict Religious Freedom

Mission News Network reports that Azerbaijan continues to restrict religious materials in country, and will consider further religious restrictions later this month. An official with Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations said written materials are restricted to prevent the "social harm and possibly inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence" they might incite. Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba said, "Local police will be searching homes of evangelical leaders, and they will take all their Christian literature away from them... Basically there is a dictatorship in Azerbaijan.” Nonetheless, he said, "The church is not scared. The church is growing. The church needs a lot more support to continue their ministry in the circumstances like that."