Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Two Dead, 60 Injured in Clashes Involving Coptics in Cairo
  • Korean Bible Instructor Held Following China Raid
  • Pakistan Christians on Alert After 'Avenge' Blasts Kill 80
  • Villagers in Bangladesh Beat Christian for Defending Girls


Two Dead, 60 Injured in Clashes Involving Coptics in Cairo

CNN reports that Egypt's Christians and Muslim majority again clashed this weekend with deadly results. Demonstrators staged a sit-in outside a state TV building to demand greater religious freedom for minorities, but were attacked by dozens of unidentified men in plain clothes. The attackers fired live ammunition into the air and threw sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails at the demonstrators. "They did not have beards. It was just a bunch of bad guys carrying guns and clubs," said Maged Girguis, a pro-Coptic protester. Witnesses claimed the attackers were people from neighboring slums, seeking to incite sectarian violence. Riot police stepped between the attackers and demonstrators, but two people were killed and 60 people were injured.

Korean Bible Instructor Held Following China Raid

Chinese authorities arrested and held at least 49 Chinese Christians and four South Korean believers overnight on Tuesday following a raid on an underground church. The Associated Press reports that one of the South Korean Bible instructors, Jin Yongzhe, and his wife, Li Sha, are still in custody, and have probably been charged with the minor crime of illegal assembly. Officials searched the meeting place, which was hosting a religious education seminar, and seized thousands of dollars’ worth of property. South Korean churches maintain close ties with Chinese believers, so much so that South Korean citizens traveling to China have reported having been asked to sign pledges not to engage in missionary or other proscribed religious activity. China Aid President Bob Fu said China's government has been cracking down on unauthorized religious meetings throughout the country.

Pakistan Christians on Alert After 'Avenge' Blasts Kill 80

Christians in Pakistan remained on high alert over the weekend after at least 80 people were killed and 120 others injured on Friday in a suicide bomb attack. Al Qaeda took responsibility for the two blasts, saying they were to avenge the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden. The bombers detonated outside a regional base for Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, a security force that receives U.S. funds to combat extremists near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Worthy News reports that Friday's blasts came shortly after minority Christians in Pakistan said they were bracing for possible attacks after U.S. forces killed long sought-after terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in one of the country's northern cities. Many Christian institutions in the country have been closed or operating with high security measures since bin Laden's death. "The situation is tense," said Paul Bhatti, Pakistan's religious minorities adviser in published remarks before Friday's blasts.

Villagers in Bangladesh Beat Christian for Defending Girls

Muslim villagers beat a 22-year-old Christian man last month for defending Christian girls against routine harassment and bullying, sources told Compass Direct News. Sipon Mondol was beaten on April 20 while returning to his native village of Nittanandapur from Gangni, Meherpur district, some 120 miles west of the capital city of Dhaka, his father said. On April 15, at a cultural event to celebrate the Bengali New Year, Poresh Mondol said his son had defended Christian girls against the slurs of a group of young Muslim men in an exchange that led to a gang fight. The Mondol family informed the parents of the young Muslim men, and village elders assured the Christians that they would resolve the long-standing problem, telling them that such harassment would not happen again, he said. “After the complaint, though, those Muslim boys became more predatory,” he said. “He was severely beaten. He was treated in the hospital for one day and released on April 21.” So far police have arrested only one of the seven Muslim suspects.