Religion Today Summaries - March 16, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 16, 2010

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

  • Christian Who Fled Iran Wins Asylum in Kenya
  • Pakistani Christian Girl Dies after Being Set Afire
  • Drug Wars, Kidnappings Plague Mexico Ministry
  • Young Christian Improves Conditions for Prisoners in Africa

Christian Who Fled Iran Wins Asylum in Kenya

Compass Direct News reports that Mohammad Azbari, a Christian convert from Islam who has fled to Kenya, has been deported to Iran before. When he and his Christian wife, a native of the Philippines, first fled Iran in 2000, he was still a Shia Muslim; he became a Christian in the Netherlands in 2003. After Azbari and his family were returned to Iran from Norway in 2007, police interrogated and beat him, his wife, and their son. As a government employee, Iran was allegedly concerned that Azbari could give away state secrets. He and his family escaped to Kenya in 2007, entering illegally. Iran has demanded that Azbari be deported and returned to Iran again. On Mach 4, a Kenyan court ruled that Azbari's family deserved asylum from religious persecution in Iran.

Pakistani Christian Girl Dies after Being Set Afire

ASSIST News Service reports that a Christian maid who worked in a Pakistani Muslim's household has died from massive burn wounds, allegedly received from her master. Kiran George died two days after she sustained burns on 80 percent of her body. She had allegedly become pregnant by her Muslim master, Mohammad Ahmad Raza, who had promised to marry her. "All this time I was hoping that Raza would propose me for marriage," George said on March 6, before she succumbed to her injuries. "I was wrong because when I reached on roof Raza and his mother Zahida were already there holding a gallon of petrol (gasoline). Raza allegedly poured gasoline on her and set afire. According to Sohail Johnson, chief coordinator of Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, this is not the first time of the daughter of a poor Christian family has been burned by her Muslim master.

Drug Wars, Kidnappings Plague Mexico Ministry

Mission News Network reports that Christians in Mexico, including those at a seminary in Monterey, find themselves caught between warring drug cartels. "Basically we have a situation where the drug cartels are fighting for territory," said Bonnie Hipwell with John Wesley Seminary. "The northeast side of Mexico is their avenue to the United States where their consumers are." Her husband, Ron, said the violence has threatened many of the seminary's students. "Some of them go to extremely challenging places where the drug cartels are actually live as well as warring against each other." The tense rivalries leave little unchallenged -- highways and whole villages have fallen into what Bonnie called "war zones in the last few weeks." The Hipwells encouraged short-term mission groups, for whom Mexico is a popular destination, to use caution and use someone in the country to find "really necessary" ministries.

Young Christian Improves Conditions for Prisoners in Africa

Christian Today reports that Alexander McLean was just 18 when he founded the African Prison Project (APP) in 2004. Since then, however, the group has been responsible for helping build libraries, clinics and health centers across Kenya , Uganda and Sierra Leone. McLean first visited Kampala, Uganda, in between high school and college. "Whilst there I visited Kampala's largest prison Luzira Upper Prison and saw the appalling way in which sick prisoners were treated and decided to do something about it," he said. "When I arrived back in the UK, I raised some money with the support of my church, the New Testament Assembly in Tooting, south west London, and went back to Luzira prison and refurbished the sick ward." McLean's work won the Beacon Prize for Young Philanthropy in 2007, and he was named Charity Volunteer of the Year in 2006. McLean, who is currently in law school, plans to return to Africa with his degree to represent those facing the death penalty.