Religion Today Summaries - May 10, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 10, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • 12 Killed in Muslim-Christian Violence in Egypt
  • Chinese Christians Petition for Freedom of Religion Guarantee
  • Open Doors CEO Talks about Persecution Misconceptions
  • Vietnam Tries to Portray Cult Gathering as Christian


12 Killed in Muslim-Christian Violence in Egypt

Christians Copts outside of Giza, Al Jizah, Egypt, were attacked Saturday evening by Muslim Salafis in an assault that lasted 14 hours. According to ASSIST News Service, The Muslims fired guns and rifles and hurled Molotov cocktails at Coptic churches, houses and businesses. Twelve Copts were killed and 232 injured by the Salafis, an extremist group that espouses violent jihad against civilians. Saint Mina Church was the first to be attacked. According to its pastor Fr. Abanoub the attack started at 5:30p.m. on Saturday, when church parishioners noticed a large number of Salafis, estimated at 3,000 men, congregating near the church. The Salafis were after a woman named Abir who married a Salafi and wanted to revert back to Christianity and was hiding inside the church. The extremists claimed that she was being "tortured" and held against her will.

Chinese Christians Petition for Freedom of Religion Guarantee

ChinaAid reports that clergy from dozens of mainland Chinese house churches are petitioning China's legislature to guarantee freedom of religion. They are also asking the legislature to peacefully resolve the recent church-state conflict involving one of the largest house churches in the capital. This is the first such move in 60 years of Communist rule of China and represents a further emboldening of the house church movement, which kept a low profile and was active only in the countryside for decades. House churches in China are illegal because all Christian religious activity is officially regulated within the government-controlled churches run by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement for Protestants and the Catholic Patriotic Association for Catholics.

Open Doors CEO Talks about Persecution Misconceptions

Carl Moeller knows the persecuted church personally in his work as CEO of Open Doors USA. In talking with The Christian Post about his new book, "The Privilege of Persecution," Moeller said the biggest misconception about the persecuted church is their separateness from Christians in America. "I think the biggest misconception is that there is an us and them. The persecuted Christians where I have interacted with them immediately assume that we should be praying for them and with them. They are praying for us, we should be praying for them, that we are one body," he said. "Our assumption here in America is that we are here and they are there. It is an "us and them" mentality. The persecuted don’t have that. They are grateful when we come from the United States and Europe to minister and be with them. But their assumption is of course, we are brothers and sisters."

Vietnam Tries to Portray Cult Gathering as Christian

Christian leaders say the Vietnamese government tried to portray several thousand Hmong followers of a messianic cult as orthodox Christians while the military forcibly disbanded their gathering on May 5 and 6. According to Compass Direct News, the cult members recruited from orthodox Christian groups, which are vulnerable to false teaching because Christians cannot print their own Bibles and are subject to other restrictions. The gathering in Dien Bien Province began after thousands of ethnic Hmong joined to wait for the ushering in of a new Hmong kingdom, but the meeting quickly turned into a confrontation.  A source said that about 50 Hmong followers, including the purported “messiah” and another top leader, fled into the forest but were captured by the military. One Compass source said that no one had been killed in the military action, contrary to one published report. Many official and journalist reports have impugned the entire large Hmong Christian movement in the event.