Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 21, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 21, 2008

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

  • Afghanistan: Taliban Kill Christian Aid Worker
  • Malaysia: Minorities Warned Not to Question Islam
  • Orissa: Soldier Defending Christians Mutilated, Killed 
  • World Vision Asks for Facebook Votes

Afghanistan: Taliban Kill Christian Aid Worker

Taliban militants shot and killed a Christian aid worker in a drive-by shooting in Kabul as the woman walked to work, the Associated Press reports. A spokesman said the group killed the Gayle Williams, 34-year-old dual British-South African national, for proselytizing. Britain's secretary of state condemned the murder as "callous and cowardly." Williams was in Afghanistan with the Christian relief organization Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises (SERVE) to work with handicapped Afghans. A spokesman for the organization, however, said that they do not proselytize, as such action is forbidden in the Islamic nation. According to the AP, the attack is indicative of growing instability in Afghanistan, as attacks against Westerners increase and police checkpoints in Kabul grow in number.

Malaysia: Minorities Warned Not to Question Islam

The Associated Press reports that Malaysian officials warned minorities against voicing complaints about privileges enjoy by ethnic Malay people and questioning Islam. The sultans of nine states joined to issue the statement, saying such questioning "can lead to disunity and racial strife that can undermine the peace and harmony." An estimated 60 percent of Malaysia's population is Muslim, with non-Muslim Chinese and Indians making a significant minority. "It (the warning) is quite unprecedented and I think it is coming in response to what the country is facing — what the rulers perceive as the fracturing of racial harmony," said Tricia Yeoh of Center for Policy Research think-tank. This combination of racial-religious tensions has become more apparent in the last year.

Orissa: Soldier Defending Christians Mutilated, Killed

Compass Direct News reports that a paramilitary soldier assigned to protect Christians from Hindu violence in Kandhamal district, Orissa was mutilated and killed by a mob in Sisapanga village on Oct. 13. The body of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldier was recovered from a nearby forest. He was believed to have been hacked to death by tribal people in the wake of the worst anti-Christian violence in the history of modern India. The death marks the first time that central security personnel have been targeted in Orissa in the riots that have raged since Hindu extremists insisted on blaming Christians for the Aug. 23 murder of Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati, even though Maoists admitted killing him and four associates.

World Vision Asks for Facebook Votes

Following the launch of its campaign to eliminate malaria, humanitarian organization World Vision may win help from an unlikely place - Facebook. Western Union's "Our World Gives" Facebook campaign allows users to vote once a day October 14 through November 25 for their favorite charity in the running, with a contest prize of $50,000 for the winning organization. World Vision is currently in the lead and hopes to put money towards bed nets to be distributed in Twachiyanda, Zambia. According to World Vision, progressing with diagnosis and treatment in the area has been hampered because of lack of prevention, which nets would help provide. Malaria kills more than 2,000 children each year. “Every one of us must do our part to help combat malaria whether we are leaders of a nation, heads of major corporations, or concerned Americans living in big cities or small rural communities,” said Rich Stearns, World Vision President.