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Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2007

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

  • Campaign Targets 'Religion-Based Bigotry Against Gay People'
  • U.S. Religious Freedom Panel Places Iraq on 'Watch List'
  • Evangelists Killed in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains
  • Ministry Says Muslims' Confusion Opens Door for Truth of Christ

Campaign Targets 'Religion-Based Bigotry Against Gay People'

A homosexual advocacy group announced on Thursday that it is launching a five-city, six-month "Call to Courage" tour to "educate Americans about the misuse of religious teachings to discriminate and isolate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." However, a conservative Christian leader told Cybercast News Service that the group was replacing one kind of bigotry with another -- and "unfortunately, it's against Almighty God."
U.S. Religious Freedom Panel Places Iraq on 'Watch List'

The continuing deterioration of religious freedom in Iraq has resulted in a bipartisan United States panel placing it on a "watch list" for careful monitoring as American-led forces seek to bring stability to the strife-torn country, Baptist Press reports. The announcement of Iraq's addition to the list came as part of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's 2007 report, which was released May 2. In its annual report, the USCIRF recommended the same 11 countries it cited last year for designation as the world's most severe persecutors of religious adherents. The commission called for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to retain Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as "countries of particular concern" (CPCs), a category reserved for governments that have "engaged in or tolerated systemic and egregious violations of religious freedom." The panel also urged Rice to return Vietnam to the CPC list and repeated its call from last year for Pakistan and Turkmenistan to be designated as CPCs. The commission expressed concern about religious liberty in Iraq in its 2006 report but did not add the Middle East country to the "watch list" at that time.

Evangelists Killed in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains

An Egyptian and three Sudanese Christians were killed last week when their truck came under gunfire after holding an evangelistic meeting in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains region. Egyptian Daniel Girgis, 37, and local Sudanese Christians Markous Tiya, Rihab Kafi Jadeen and an unidentified young boy were killed when unknown assailants opened fire on their vehicle last Friday night (April 27). At least five others, two foreigners and three Sudanese, were injured in the attack that began when the truck driver refused to stop at a makeshift roadblock of large rocks. “When they finished [showing] the Jesus film [in the village of Gnaya] they were going back to the town they were visiting,” Barnaba Timothous, evangelism coordinator at the Bahry Evangelical Church, told Compass Direct News. “On their way there, someone behind the mountain fired at them. It was night, they saw just two men.” Though the motive for the attack remains unclear, Timothous said he suspects it was caused by Muslims who were unhappy that Christians were doing evangelism in the area.

Ministry Says Muslims' Confusion Opens Door for Truth of Christ

OneNewsNow.com reports that an official with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) says the stabbing deaths of three Christians -- and subsequent offering of forgiveness by their widows -- are having an impact among Muslims in Turkey. The three Christians were killed last month by a group of young Muslims who gained the trust of the Christians by asking questions about their faith. In an interview on Mission Network News, Johan Candelin, executive director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission, says the murders have caused a sense of confusion among Muslims. "As the Muslims are saying that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony, and then they see on television these three Christians who have been killed by a group of young people, and the young people say that they have done it in the name of religion -- it has created a lot of confusion. But there are also strong nationalistic groups in Turkey that see the Christians as something that will split the Turkish nation."