Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 14, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 14, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Christian Worshippers Attacked Sunday Morning in Indonesia
  • British Missionary Freed from Gambian Prison
  • Kashmir Riots Destroy Christian School, 13 Killed
  • Officials Threaten Families of Imprisoned Iranian Christians

Christian Worshippers Attacked Sunday Morning in Indonesia

Two Christians were assaulted outside the Indonesian capital of Jakarta as they were headed to morning prayers, according to The Associated Press. Asia Sihombing, a worshipper, was on his way to the field where Batak Christian Protestant Church meets when assailants jumped off a motorcycle and stabbed him in the stomach. The Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak was smashed in the head with a wooden plank when she tried to help him. Locals suspect that a group of Islamic extremists, who have previously interrupted church services and dumped human waste on church land, are responsible for the attack. The Islamic Defenders Front has pressured the government to shutter the church without repercussions. "We know who's behind it," said Maj. Gen. Timur Pradopo, the police chief in Jakarta, without elaborating. "But I don't believe this is an inter-religious conflict."

British Missionary Freed from Gambian Prison

A British missionary sentenced to hard labor for alleged sedition in Gambia has been released. David Fulton and his wife, Fiona, were found guilty in December 2008 after they admitted to sending emails critical of the Gambian government and Islam. Fiona was released last year, but her husband was sentenced to three more years in March 2009 after being convicted of forgery while working as an army chaplain. Christian Today reports that organizations working on Fulton's behalf say they weren't expecting his release. "We didn't know that David was going to be released so we're absolutely delighted," said Stuart Windsor, national director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. "There have been things going on covertly, negotiations, behind the scenes, but I don't know any more than that." Gambia is predominantly Muslim, with over 90 per cent of the population belonging to the faith.

Kashmir Riots Destroy Christian School, 13 Killed

Worthy News reports that a Christian school was torched as thousands of Islamic fundamentalists took to the streets in Kashmir in India over the weekend. The protests followed a report on an Iranian TV Channel of a Koran being desecrated in New York. At least 13 people were killed and scores injured in clashes. Thousands ignored a state-imposed curfew last night and flooded the streets, burning government buildings and throwing rocks at police stations. In the village of Tangmarg, Islamists chanted, "Death to the U.S.!" and "Death to Koran desecrators," local residents told AFP before the arson attack on a school run by a Christian missionary. The local government banned the telecast of the Iranian TV channel.

Officials Threaten Families of Imprisoned Iranian Christians

Three Iranian Christians remain in jail for their faith while Iranian officials continue to threaten their families. ASSIST News Service reports that Reza (Stephen), his wife Maria, and Ehsan Behrooz, have been charged with apostasy, and incarcerated since July 28. The court has warned their families that if the detainees do not revert back to Islam, there will be severe consequences. In the first court session in the city of Mashad, officials reportedly told the prisoners' families that after more than 50 days of effort to re-convert these individuals back to Islam (through torture and solitary confinement), they have been unwilling to change their beliefs and renounce their Christian faith. The families worry that strict Islamic justice will be enforced.