Religion Today Summaries, May 15, 2003

Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, May 15, 2003

Religion Today Summaries -- Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In Today's Edition:

  • Iraqi Christians Fear Rise of Shiite Fundamentalism
  • Catholics Say Law Should Face Prosecution
  • Saudi Arabia Jails Two African Christians in Jeddah
  • Religion Bestsellers

Iraqi Christians Fear Rise of Shiite Fundamentalism
Mark Mueller, Religion News Service
(RNS) Two weeks ago, Raad Karim Essa arrived home from work to find his furniture on the street. His Muslim landlord wasn't renting to Christians anymore. "The Muslims want to destroy us," said Amira Nisan, 38, Essa's wife. Such a sentiment is voiced increasingly today among Iraq's 800,000 Christians. Like most of their countrymen, Christians greeted the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with celebration and hope. But in little more than a month, their desire for greater religious freedom has been replaced by fear of the fundamentalism rippling through Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, which has moved quickly to exert its influence after decades of violent repression. Christian women say they've been harassed by Shiite men for walking on the street without head scarves, and priests complain that Shiite clerics inflame religious hatred by calling for the expulsion from Iraq of "nonbelievers." "Everyone's afraid," said Albert Paul Younan, 42. Younan said he sought help from a United Nations facility in Baghdad, where he spoke with an American military commander. "I told him we need protection, and he said, `I'm sorry. You're going to have to protect yourselves,'" Younan said. "There is no law anymore. There is only Islamic law. God help us all."


Catholics Say Law Should Face Prosecution

Religion News Service


(RNS) More than half of Boston-area Catholics believe Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop last year for his handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal, should face prosecution, according to a new Boston Globe poll. Fifty-seven percent say Law should be prosecuted. Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly has convened a grand jury to investigate the scandal, but has said he does not believe the cardinal broke any laws. Law's disapproval rating registered at its all-time highest level, at 75 percent, compared with 15 percent a decade ago. Law is now the private chaplain for a conservative order of nuns in Clinton, Md. Emerging favorably in the poll was a lay reform group, Voice of the Faithful, which was formed in the wake of the scandal. Sixty-one percent of area Catholics have a favorable view, prompting Voice of the Faithful leaders to again ask interim Bishop Richard Lennon to rescind his ban that keeps the group from meeting on church property. The poll of 400 Catholics has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. Lawyers for the church and abuse victims are trying to settle nearly 500 lawsuits, with one estimated price tag of $100 million.


Saudi Arabia Jails Two African Christians in Jeddah
Barbara G. Baker, Compass News


(Compass) Two African men jailed in Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah for “Christian activities” were told yesterday that they are slated for deportation back to their homelands. Girmaye Ambaye, 44, of Eritrea, was arrested at his sponsor’s office on March 25. Ethiopian Endeshawe Adana Yizengaw, 32, was taken into custody on the street near his home on April 27. Saudi police first revoked residence permits for the two men, active in the ministry of Jeddah’s Ethiopian-Eritrean Christian congregation, then placed them under arrest. “I think in two days I will reach Ethiopia,” Yizengaw told Compass by telephone from Bremen’s Cell 4. Ambaye may not be deported to the Eritrean capital of Asmara for several more days because his paperwork is still in process at the Governate of Mecca. Saudi authorities have questioned at least a dozen members of Jeddah’s Ethiopian-Eritrean congregation in recent months and warned them to stop attending the church.


Religion Bestsellers

Religion News Service


(Editor's note: This list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of April. Copyright 2003 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.)


1. Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages, by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins. (Tyndale, $24.99)
2. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. (Zondervan, $19.99)
3. Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. (Thomas Nelson, $16.95)
4. The Brother of Jesus, by Hershel Shanks and Ben Witherington III. (Harper San Francisco, $24.95)
5. Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, by Bruce Feiler. (Morrow, $23.95)
6. I Hope You Dance, by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers. (Rutledge Hill, $13.99)
7. Knowing God Intimately, by Joyce Meyer. (Warner Faith, $21.99)
8. Bringing Up Boys, by James Dobson. (Tyndale, $22.99)
9. Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. (Thomas Nelson, $19.99)
10. A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever, by Bruce Wilkinson. (Multnomah, $10.99)