Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 2, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 2, 2008

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

  • U.K. Court Recognizes Threat to Christian Converts
  • China: House Church Raided, Hymnals and Cross Confiscated
  • Somali House Church Attacked for the Second Time
  • Bangladesh: Suspects Charged in Rape of Pastor's Daughter

 U.K. Court Recognizes Threat to Christian Converts

According to the Christian Post, a U.K. immigration court of appeals delivered a "groundbreaking decision" that provides asylum for a young Christian couple who fled Syria after converting from Islam, recognizing the threat to Christians' lives for the first time. “This is a significant and groundbreaking decision that clearly puts the focus on the fact that many converts to Christianity from Islam face real danger including the ultimate penalty of death,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of both the European Center for Law and Justice, which aided the couple, and its U.S.-based affiliate the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), in a statement. He added, “This important decision will not go unnoticed in the international arena and we’re delighted that it provides protection for Christian converts who are at great risk because of their faith and their desire to share it.” The couple's families and others have threatened to punish the couple's apostasy and "wash their shame" with death.

China: House Church Raided, Hymnals and Cross Confiscated

The Christian News Wire reports that about 20 Chinese plainclothes officials raided a house church in Shandong province Sept. 20, interrogating visiting Taiwan Pastor Liu, his wife, and another church member for more than two hours. Police ordered the church to disband after registering attendees' names, and released the three after questioning. The officials also confiscated property belonging to church members, including a collection box, large cross, 15 Bibles and 42 hymnals. Another church member had his hard drive taken and all of its contents copied by police. A week later, the church received "Notice of Hearing on Administrative Penalty" and "Notice of Administrative Penalty" from the District Bureau of Religion. The Christians were told that the official charge is "setting up a gathering site without approval."

Somali House Church Attacked for the Second Time

ASSIST News Service reports that a Muslim mob has once again attacked a house church in Tayeglow, a town 198 miles from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. According to a human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), dozens of Muslims, including children and women, demolished the church and attacked the Christians worshipping at the church with spears, machetes, sticks and stones. Two elders of the church suffered serious injuries as a result of the attack. ICC says the attack was probably in response to the conversion of the only son of a prominent Muslim religious leader in the district. This is the second time that Muslim extremists targeted the church for attack. In the first attack, which took place in 2007, a Muslim gunman opened fire on the Christians at the church and seriously wounded the pastor. That pastor has yet to fully recover.

Bangladesh: Suspects Charged in Rape of Pastor's Daughter

Compass Direct News reports that police have submitted a charge sheet to a district court accusing two persons of raping a pastor’s daughter in the village of Laksmipur, said a state prosecutor. Sayed Tariqul Islam told Compass that police submitted the charge sheet on Sept. 7 based on an extensive investigation following a DNA test that turned out positive. Pastor Motilal Das, who has long received threats from villagers upset with his success as an evangelist, said that local residents gang-raped his 13-year-old daughter in an attempt to drive him from the area. State prosecutor Islam said Shakil Ahmed Shebul and Dulal Miah are charged with raping Elina Das at 3 a.m. on May 2. If convicted, they will receive life terms in prison, he said. Previously a medical college had submitted a false forensic test report indicating no evidence of sexual assault. It is believed relatives of the accused men paid off the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital Forensic Department to fabricate the false test results.