Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 31, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 31, 2006

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

  • Assyrian Christian Teen Reportedly Beheaded
  • Eritrean Police Arrest 150 More Christians
  • New Believer in India Arrested, Urged to Frame Pastor
  • Missionaries Hike to Share Jesus on Appalachian Trail

Assyrian Christian Teen Reportedly Beheaded

According to ASSIST News Service, an Assyrian Christian teenager has reportedly been decapitated while at work. The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reported that according to the Assyrian website, a 14-year-old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was beheaded at his work place on Oct. 21. Ayad Tariq was working his 12-hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID. According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID noted he was "Christian." The insurgents asked the boy if he was really a "Christian sinner." Ayad reportedly replied, "Yes, I am Christian, but I am not a sinner." The insurgents immediately said, "dirty Christian sinner!" Then they proceeded to each hold one of the boy’s limbs, "Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!" while beheading him.

Eritrean Police Arrest 150 More Christians

Compass Direct News reports that in a large-scale roundup the past week, Eritrean authorities have detained 150 Christians from at least five of the country’s outlawed churches. Starting Wednesday (October 25), security officers in the town of Mendefera began going from house to house, arresting local Christians from a list they compiled of known members of Pentecostal churches and the Orthodox renewal movement. During the first day’s raids, a total of 38 men and 17 women were incarcerated at the military fort in Mendefera, 30 miles south of Asmara. Local sources confirmed to Compass that police authorities were subjecting the detained Christians to beatings and other physical mistreatment. According to eyewitnesses, at least 10 nursing mothers were among the new prisoners, all of them forced to leave their infants behind.

New Believer in India Arrested, Urged to Frame Pastor

Police recently arrested a convert in Mayapuri, Madhya Pradesh state for the second time in three days in an apparent attempt to pressure him to give evidence that his pastor forcibly converted him, Compass Direct News reports. By nightfall in India, the new believer was charged with “insulting religious beliefs.” Dewas Gate police again detained Ramesh Thakur, 37, at 9 a.m. after having arrested him on Tuesday (October 24) and releasing him the next day after intense questioning. The pastor of his church in Ujjain district, Jagdish Bharti, is already fighting charges of “insulting religious beliefs.” The officer-in-charge of the Dewas Gate police station, R.R. Malvi, told a church member that he was under tremendous political pressure to charge Thakur. Viju Varghese, Global Council of Indian Christians co-ordinator in Madhya Pradesh, told Compass that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had offered Thakur 25,000 rupees (US$552) to implicate Pastor Bharti in a charge of “allurement” to convert.

Missionaries Hike to Share Jesus on Appalachian Trail

Craig and Suzy Miles’ mission field is located amongst the pines and hardwoods of the Appalachian Mountains. They share it with hikers, the occasional black bear, snakes and other creepy-crawly things better left alone. The Christian couple witnesses to people with funny names like “Chicken Wing,” “Kentucky Fried” and “Rabbit’s Foot.” According to Baptist Press, for three years now, the Mileses -- as Mission Service Corps missionaries for the North American Mission Board -- have operated Appalachian Trail Servants, a mission organization dedicated to sharing Christ with hikers along the famous Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail is a marked, yard-wide footpath winding 2,175 miles through the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain in north Georgia to Mount Katahdin in central Maine. Conceived in 1921 and completed in 1937, it passes through 14 states. More than 4 million people hike some part of the trail each year. Their ministry began when one morning on the way to work, Craig stopped by his Baptist church and prayed a simple prayer: “Lord, how can you use our time and talents for your glory?” “Right after I prayed that prayer, I spotted a missionary magazine on a table next to me,” Miles said. “On the cover was a story about extreme hiking in China. It just clicked in my head that we needed to start a ministry on the Appalachian Trail. Suzy and I were seeing hundreds of hikers pass over the roads and trails and through the woods of north Georgia, but we knew their spiritual needs were not being met.”