Religion Today Summaries - May 1, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 1, 2008

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

  • Islamic Extremists Kill another Christian in Somalia
  • Protestants in Russia Facing Increased Pressure
  • India: Serious Charges Omitted in Attack on Pastor
  • World's Largest Prayer Meeting Gathers Momentum

Islamic Extremists Kill another Christian in Somalia

ASSIST News Service reports that Islamic extremists in Somalia have shot and killed a Muslim convert to Christianity. According to a news release from the D.C.-based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), the slaying occurred on April 22 in Baidawa. The 29-year-old victim’s name was David Abdulwahab Mohamed Ali. ICC filled in some of the horrifying details. On April 22, one of Ali’s cousins took two other members of the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab to Ali and asked him if he was a Muslim or an infidel. He answered, “Neither.” They asked, “Then what are you?” He answered, “Waxaan ahay Masiixi,” which means, “I am a follower of the Messiah.” ICC said that at this point Ali’s cousin became both furious and humiliated. In Somalia’s strict Muslim society, Ali’s conversion to Christianity brought enormous shame on his family. His cousin’s first response was to pull out a gun and shoot Ali. The other two extremists did the same, and the three continued shooting Ali until their Muslim “honor” had been avenged.

Protestants in Russia Facing Increased Pressure

Protestants in Russia are facing increased pressure from the Orthodox Church and the state, ASSIST News Service reports. Protestants are frequently labeled and treated as “totalitarian sects.” Recent press reports featured incidents in the Russian city of Stary Oskol. Members of the secret service FSB “visited” a small Methodist congregation recently. The church, with approximately 40 members, meets in a private apartment. According to Pastor Vladimir Pachomov an officer predicted that Protestantism in Russia would probably soon come to an end. After the uninvited visit by the FSB the local authorities denied the group state recognition as a religious association. The authorities claimed that the religious activities were only a “facade” for unspecified business transactions. Unofficially, other reasons were mentioned to Pachomov. It was alleged that the Methodist group was under American influence and perceived to be a “foreign element”, from which nothing good could be expected. Other reports from Stary Oskol mention that police broke up an Adventist gathering, and Baptists were denied the use of a rented theater.

India: Serious Charges Omitted in Attack on Pastor

Compass Direct News reports that the Hindu nationalist government in Rajasthan state has closed a police investigation into a televised attack on pastor Walter Masih a year ago today after withdrawing the more serious charges against the accused. The state government ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party has refused to sanction prosecution under the more serious charges of the 14 Hindu extremists accused of attacking Pastor Masih with sticks and rods, leaving him bleeding profusely in the state capital, Jaipur. Police had arrested 14 of the 20 alleged attackers in the April 29, 2007 assault and filed a case against them – but without including any charges related to religion-related offenses, which provide for stricter penal action. Now the government has refused to give sanction for prosecution of more serious charges, weakening the case.

World's Largest Prayer Meeting Gathers Momentum

This Pentecost Sunday, May 11, millions of Christians, from 210 nations around the world will be gathering to worship and pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as part of the fourth Global Day of Prayer. ASSIST News Service reports that, according to, there will be over 38 events across the UK in cathedrals, civic centers, stadiums, high places, parks, churches and houses of prayer. “The Global Day of Prayer started in South Africa in 2005 and is based on Acts 1 and 2 - ten days of constant prayer (May 1-10); 1 day for the whole church to gather (May 11) and 90 days of blessing (May 12–August 10). The aim is to see local churches united in prayer to see communities transformed by the Holy Spirit,” said the Christian Today story.