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Religion Today Summaries - November 14, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 14, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Egyptian Government Report Absolves Army of Maspero Massacre
  • Ethiopian Extremist Group Has Plans for Sharia Takeover
  • N.Y. Clerk Who Refused Gay Marriage Licenses Wins Reelection
  • Sudan's Islamist Regime Renewing Attacks on Refugees, South


Egyptian Government Report Absolves Army of Maspero Massacre

In a report regarding the Oct. 9 massacre of 27 Coptic Christians, the fact-finding commission of Egypt's National Council for Human Rights absolved the army of any responsibility of firing ammunition and provided evidence for its innocence, ASSIST News Service reports. The report, which put the blame of the massacre on "unidentified" citizens and accused the protesters of inciting violence, drew angry responses from Copts and was blasted by NGOs and human rights activists as a whitewash of the military's role in the massacre. The report acknowledged that 12 Copts were run over by armored vehicles but asserted that those deaths were not intentional and due only to the attempts of police to disperse the crowd. "The report does not clarify who is responsible, and describes it as non-deliberate mistakes," said Magdy Khalil of Coptic Solidarity International. Sources say Coptic Orthodox Church leaders are expected to criticize the report; Copts maintain that all 27 deaths were the responsibility of the government.

Ethiopian Extremist Group Has Plans for Sharia Takeover

The Ethiopian government recently announced the discovery of plans by the extremist Wahhabi Muslims to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic country governed by Sharia law, and expressed concern over the growing violence against moderate Muslims and Christians by Wahhabi radicals, Mission Network News reports. "We have found evidences and pamphlets [which] were publicly distributed during the month of Ramadan calling on the Muslim community to stand up against all non-Wahhabi Muslims and followers of other religions," said Mersessa Reda, the director general of the Ministry of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia. International Christian Concern reports that the radical teachings of the Wahhabi have been spreading among Muslims in Ethiopia, promoting intolerance of other religions. Ethiopia ranks 43rd on the World Watch List of the 50 worst countries for Christian persecution.

N.Y. Clerk Who Refused Gay Marriage Licenses Wins Reelection

The town clerk in Ledyard, N.Y., who drew national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples won reelection last week, the Religion News Service reports. Rose Marie Belforti polarized residents of the small, rural town in August after saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from issuing a marriage license to a lesbian couple, but defeated write-in candidate Ed Easter in a 305-to-186 victory, thanking supporters for choosing "religious freedom over religious intolerance." Belforti said she should not have to relinquish her religious freedoms to do her town job, and the town has since asked a deputy clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in hopes that action will be considered to be in compliance with the state's Marriage Equality Act, which was passed in June.

Sudan's Islamist Regime Renewing Attacks on Refugees, South

Armed forces of Sudan's Islamist regime crossed international borders and dropped bombs on two states in the new nation of South Sudan for two consecutive days last week, including a camp of northern Sudanese refugees, according to the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). Twelve people were killed and 20 injured in the attack on South Sudan's Unity State's Yida refugee camp, populated by both Muslims and Christians persecuted by Sudan's regime, and seven were killed in the bombing of Upper Nile State. Attacks by the Islamist regime began in June, and South Sudan president Salva Kiir warns that Sudan may be preparing to invade South Sudan soon, possibly attempting to provoke South Sudan into restarting a war. The IRD's Church Alliance for a New Sudan, along with dozens of other advocates, is working to strengthen U.S. policy to stop Khartoum's genocidal war, in a new alliance called "Act for Sudan."

Publication date: November 14, 2011