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Religion Today Summaries - March 25, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 25, 2010

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

  • Islamic Extremists in Somalia Kill Church Leader, Torch Home
  • Egyptian State Security Demolishes Anglican Church
  • Nigeria to Prosecute Suspects in Christian Slaughter
  • Canadian Anglican Splinter Group to Join Catholic Church

Islamic Extremists in Somalia Kill Church Leader, Torch Home

Compass Direct News reports that Islamic militants in Somalia tracked down an underground church leader and killed him last week. Islamic extremist al Shabaab rebels shot Madobe Abdi to death on March 15. He had escaped a previous attempt to kidnap him on March 2. Abdi's death adds to a growing number of Christians murdered by Islamic militants, but his was distinctive in that he was not a convert from Islam. An orphan, Abdi was raised as a Christian. In another incident, alleged members of the government-aligned Islamic Courts Union last month set fire to the house of an underground church member they suspected of having left Islam. After learning that a Bible and Christian pamphlets were inside, the militants stormed the house in Hamarwien district of Mogadishu as a warning to those who dare possess any Christian literature, sources said. The assailants looted the home before setting it afire. Area residents tried to extinguish the blaze, which left the house uninhabitable.

Egyptian State Security Demolishes Anglican Church, Assaults Pastor

ASSIST News Service reports that an Anglican Church pastor and his wife were forced last week to abandon their home and church so Egyptian officials could demolish them. On March 17, Pastor Mahrous Karam of the Anglican Church in Luxor, Egypt, thought officials were still considering the replacement for the community center building within the church compound. Early next morning, a 500-man force of Central Security and State Security blocked all roads leading to the Church compound, forced their way in and broke into the pastor's residence, dragging the family out by force. "They threatened that if I do not leave the place they would take my 3-year-old boy and throw him under the bulldozers which came for the demolition work," the pastor's wife, Sabah, said. All the family's belonging were thrown out, and the demolition of the church buiding and their home continued. "I believe they wanted to give us an Easter present, the way they gave the Copts of Nag Hammadi the Christmas Eve Massacre," she added bitterly.

Nigeria to Prosecute Suspects in Christian Slaughter

Christian Today reports that at least 56 people will be charged for attacks that killed hundreds outside of Jos, Nigeria, two weeks ago. Plateau State police spokesman Mohammed Lerama said that hundreds have been arrested in the two most recent incidents of violence, which killed up to 500 Christians on March 7 and another 13 a week later. Prosecution may begin this week. The violence may be retaliation for attacks on Muslims in January, in which 300 people were killed. Open Doors' Africa director maintains that area's troubles have a spiritual undertone. "I think it is also important to understand that the Nigerian Christians are not super human beings. We need to understand that those Christians in northern Nigeria face discrimination, humiliation and attacks on almost a daily basis," said the director, who could not be named for security reasons.

Canadian Anglican Splinter Group to Join Catholic Church

Religion News Service reports that about 2,000 Canadian members of a breakaway Anglican group have accepted the Vatican's invitation to join the Roman Catholic Church. The agreement will allow members of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada to keep their liturgy and have their own bishops, but acknowledge the pope's supremacy. In Canada, the denomination claims about 40 churches and fewer than 2,000 members. It is part of the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion, a movement that numbers some 400,000 adherents who broke from mainstream Anglicanism in 1991 because of what they saw as its liberal drift and ordination of women as priests. The Canadian announcement comes weeks after a similar move by traditional Anglicans in Florida. Earlier this month, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America (ACA) voted to take up the offer made by Pope Benedict XVI last October that permits disaffected congregations to defect to Rome while keeping many of their Anglican traditions, including married priests. The move will affect about 100 U.S. churches.