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Religion Today Summaries - March 8, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 8, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Egyptians Protest As Church Torched and Coptic Homes Attacked
  • Spate of Attacks on Christians Erupts in Orissa, India
  • Muslims and Supporters Protest Congressional Hearings
  • Muslim Abductors Release Christian Nurse after Conversion to Islam


Egyptians Protest As Church Torched and Coptic Homes Attacked

A mob of 4,000 Muslims attacked a church and Christian homes on the outskirts of Cairo Saturday. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that the mob was a reaction to the relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, which is forbidden under Shari’a law. The woman’s father was reportedly murdered by a cousin for refusing to sanction the honour killing of his daughter, and the cousin was in turn killed by the woman’s brother. The attack on Sool allegedly followed the cousin’s funeral. The mob inititally prevented fire fighters from containing the damage to the church. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council, told Reuters news agency that the army would rebuild the church before Easter holidays. More than 1,000 Christians and Muslims banded together afterwards to protest the attacks.

Spate of Attacks on Christians Erupts in Orissa, India

Hindu extremists have attacked Koya tribal Christians at least 15 times since Dec. 8, 2010, Christian leaders said. Compass Direct News reports that the attacks occured in remote villages in Orissa state. In the latest attack, about 60 assailants beat two Christians until one fell unconscious. Women and children have also been injured in the attacks on churches. Christians have suffered midnight raids on prayer meetings in which they have been beaten, he said, resulting in some Christians fleeing their homes and going into hiding. At least four families have left their village and not returned due to extremist warnings. “There is great fear among the people because of the threats they received from the extremists,” Pastor Purusu said. “Persecution against the Christians has become a daily occurrence in the area.”

Muslims and Supporters Protest Congressional Hearings

Religion News Service reports that several hundred protesters gathered in Times Square in New York City Sunday ahead of congressional hearings on homegrown Islamic terrorism. Protesters held signs and wore t-shirts bearing the rally's slogan, "Today, I am Muslim, too," while others said it was unjust to single out a religious group as a threat to national security. People say Islam is the enemy," said rally organizer Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is also a co-founder of a controversial project to build a mosque near Ground Zero. "The real enemy is radicalization and extremism, and we, as Americans, are against it." ome faith leaders have encouraged Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who, as chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has spearheaded the hearings, to widen its scope to include other threats to national security. King called the suggestion "absolute nonsense."

Muslim Abductors Release Christian Nurse after Conversion to Islam

After more than two months in captivity, a volunteer Christian nurse was freed March 1 in the jungles of the Philippines. ASSIST News Service reports that Maricris Cuartocruz, 24, converted to Islam and her family paid "goodwill money" to the kidnappers before she was finally released. Cuartocruz was abducted by 10 armed men in the village of Manicahan on Dec. 14, 2010. One of the gunmen shot dead her 72-year-old grandfather who tried to fight back the kidnappers, while her mother was badly hurt by one of the suspects. Cuartocruz is now called Hannan after her conversion to Islam. Police authorities said the kidnappers belong to a “lost command” group who are also suspects in the kidnapping of three teachers in Zamboanga Sibugay in March of 2009.