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Religion Today Summaries - May 23, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 23, 2008

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

  • Kenya Mob Burns 15 Women to Death over Witchcraft
  • Pakistani Christian Flees Home after Blasphemy Accusation
  • China Says Quake Death Toll More than 51,000
  • Christian 'Bullied' for Refusing to Marry Gays

Kenya Mob Burns 15 Women to Death over Witchcraft

A mob of about 100 people in western Kenya burned alive15 women accused of witchcraft on Wednesday, the AFP reports. The mob also torched about 50 houses in the local village of Nyakeo. "I can't believe my wife of many years would be killed so brutally by people who cannot prove their case even before God," said Enoch Obiero, a pastor. Kenyan officials have vowed to "hunt the suspects down," but this is just one of many incidents of vigalante and mob violence in Kenya's "sorcery belt." Dozens of suspected people were killed in western Kenya in the 1990s, amid allegations of sorcery. Several cases were also reported in recent months in neighbouring Tanzania, forcing President Jakaya Kikwete to order special protection for albino, who were being murdered and mutilated for good luck by with-doctors.

Pakistani Christian Flees Home after Blasphemy Accusation

ASSIST News Service reports that a Pakistani Christian armament factory worker has fled his home after his Muslim co-workers accused him of blasphemy. "His Muslim co-workers accused him of committing blasphemy when he asked them to stop criticizing his religion," said Nazim, a Christian resident of the area. As the word of his alleged blasphemy spread out, hundreds of Muslim factory workers gathered in the factory but Danish escaped as the managing director of the factory calmed down the charged workers, he said. Some reports suggest that blasphemy accusation was slapped on Danish after his Muslim co-workers failed to convert him to Islam. Christian parliamentarian and Chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has expressed his grave concern over registration of fake blasphemy cases.

China Says Quake Death Toll More than 51,000

The Associated Press reports that the toll of dead and missing from last week's catastrophic earthquake in China rose to more than 80,000 yesterday, with the number of confirmed dead jumping to 51,151. At least 300,000 were injured, and more than 5 million were left homeless. "We hope and welcome international assistance in this regard. We hope the international community can give priority in providing tents," cabinet spokesman Guo Weimin said in a news conference. In addition to the dead and missing, China also estimates that more than 4,000 children were orphaned by the quake. The government has received hundreds calls from people wanting to adopt them.

Christian 'Bullied' for Refusing to Marry Gays

The Daily Express reports that a London registrar was threatened with dismissal for gross misconduct after she asked to be excused from conducting civil partnerships for gay men and women. "I felt harassed and victimised,” Lillian Ladele, 47, told an employment tribunal on Wednesday. “I was being picked on on a daily basis. There was no respect whatsoever for my religious beliefs." Ladele said she is being forced to choose between her Christian beliefs and her £31,000-a-year job at Islington Council in north London which she has held for nearly 16 years. “I cannot reconcile my faith with taking an active part in enabling same-sex unions to be formed," she said. Ladele, who is claiming discrimination or victimisation on grounds of religion or belief, said 10 other registrars could conduct the ceremonies.