Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 3, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 3, 2009

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

  • Church Officials: 15,000 Bibles Seized in Malaysia
  • Government Orders Tehran Church to Stop Some Services
  • Seminary Students in Indonesia Evicted from Two Locations
  • UK's 'Hidden' Children Still Exploited, Says Charity

Church Officials: 15,000 Bibles Seized in Malaysia

The Associated Press reports that Malaysian officials have confiscated more than 15,000 Bibles in recent months because the Bibles refer to "God" as "Allah." Most of the Bibles were imported from neighboring Indonesia. Recent court rulings in Malaysia have forbidden Christians to use "Allah" to refer to the Christian God, as they say it could confuse and upset Muslims. The Muslim-majority country practices a moderate brand of Islam, but has increasingly discriminated against religious minorities. The Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said the Roman Catholic Church is challenging the "Allah" ban in court. "For most of the Christians, this is not an issue of going against the authorities. They have been using (the word "Allah") for a long time," he said.

Government Orders Tehran Church to Stop Some Services

Farsi Christian News Network reports that a church in Tehran has cut the number of its services to avoid being completely shut down by authorities. On Friday, the Central Assemblies of God Church cut its Friday services and announced that only its two Sunday services will continue, despite the church's position as the largest public gathering of Iranian Christians. Security from the Ministry of Information has reportedly put extreme pressure on the church, saying they would personally close the church if they refused to comply by the end of October. Rev. Soorik, the bishop and overseer of the Assemblies of God Churches in Iran, said he reportedly made the decision to protect the security and well-being of the church's members and visitors.

Seminary Students in Indonesia Evicted from Two Locations

Compass Direct News reports that in the past week hundreds of students from Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) were evicted from two sites where they had taken refuge from Muslim protestors last year. With about 700 students earlier evicted from Bumi Perkemahan Cibubur campground, officers appointed by the West Jakarta District Court on Oct. 26 began evacuating more than 300 other students from a former West Jakarta municipal building. In response, the more than 1,000 evicted SETIA students demonstrated in West Jakarta the next day, clogging traffic and leading to altercations with police that led to the arrest of at least five students. Six officers were injured. The eviction from the former West Jakarta mayoral office came after the city settled accounts last week with the Sawerigading Foundation, which officially gained ownership of the site from the city after a long court dispute.

UK's 'Hidden' Children Still Exploited, Says Charity

Christian Today reports that the UK keeps needs to do a better job finding its "hidden children." According to a new report from The Children's Society, many victims of human trafficking in the UK are unable to find help from police, teachers and social workers. Case studies showed that many of these professionals were either unwilling to help, did not believe the children's claims, or did not know how to help the children. One young person cited in the report said that social workers asked them questions while their guardians were present or asked them about how they were doing at school but not ‘Where do you sleep?'. "Whilst sexual exploitation may be the most high profile form of trafficking, young people can be, and have been, exploited in a number of different ways, including forced labour and domestic servitude," said Lisa Nandy, Policy Adviser for The Children's Society.