Religion Today Summaries - September 10, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 10, 2004

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

  • Five Afghan Christians Martyred

  • House Church Leader in Vietnam Released After Eight Days of Interrogation

  • Pakistani Christian Tortured To Death By Police; 40 Christian Protestors

  • Christian Organization Holds Prayer Service For Russian School Victims

Five Afghan Christians Martyred
Compass Direct

Five Afghan men who had converted to Christianity have been killed in separate incidents since late June near the borders of eastern Afghanistan. All five men were stabbed or beaten to death in summary executions by Taliban adherents who accused them of abandoning Islam and then "spreading Christianity" in their communities.  The first stabbing death was reported on July 1 by Reuters news agency, which received a telephone call from a Taliban spokesman identifying himself as Abdul Latif Hakimi. The caller declared that a group of Taliban fighters had killed Mullah Assad Ullah the previous day in Ghazni province's remote Awdand region, a known Taliban stronghold and traditional seat of Islamic learning. "A group of Taliban dragged out Mullah Assad Ullah and slit his throat with a knife because he was propagating Christianity," Hakimi told Reuters. "We have enough evidence and local accounts to prove that he was involved in the conversion of Muslims to Christianity."  Hakimi went on to accuse a number of foreign aid agencies of involvement in spreading Christianity among Afghanistan's overwhelmingly Muslim population. At least 33 foreign aid workers have been killed by the Taliban in the past 18 months.

House Church Leader in Vietnam Released After Eight Days of Interrogation
Charisma News Service

A prominent house church leader was released Monday after eight days of interrogation. The Rev. Tran Mai was arrested on Aug. 29 as he crossed the border of the Asian nation after several months abroad. He was questioned regarding his association with two other prominent house church leaders who are currently in police custody: the Rev. Bui Van Ba and the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang. Despite his release, Mai was ordered to appear for further questioning before authorities. Mai's release came after the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship (VEF), an association of 30 unregistered house church groups of which Mai's group is an active member, called for a three-day period of fasting and prayer from Sept. 5-7. The VEF also urged Christians to pray for the protection of house churches, especially in light of Vietnam's new Ordinance on Religion, which is scheduled to become law on Nov. 15. Meanwhile, on Aug. 23, the mother of Mennonite evangelists Nguyen Huu Nghia and Nguyen Thanh Nhan was allowed to visit her imprisoned sons for the first time since their arrest in Ho Chi Minh City on March 2. It took nearly six months for the brothers' family to get permission for the visit. (

Pakistani Christian Tortured To Death By Police; 40 Christian Protestors
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service

A young Christian man, died in prison on August 19 -- four days after being beaten and tortured by officers in two different police stations. When local Christians sought to have the police brutality investigated, 40 of the protesting Christians were arrested. According to Barnabas Fund, Nasir Masih went to join in the celebrations for Pakistan's Independence Day on 15th August. He got into a fight with local Muslims who beat him severely and then had him arrested on false charges of theft.  At Police Station B-Division, Sheikhupura District, Nasir was beaten again and then handed over to Saddar Police Station, also in Sheikhupura District. Here he was tortured to the point where he lost consciousness. Nasir was given no treatment for his injuries and died in prison on 19th August. A crowd of hundreds of Christians began to shout protests and blocked the traffic at the prison. Eventually the police Deputy Inspector General agreed to register a case against the police. The police registered cases against 40 of the protestors, who were arrested at their work places on 21st August, the day after the protest. They have since been released, but the case against them is still pending.

Christian Organization Holds Prayer Service For Russian School Victims
Charisma News Service

A Christian organization with ties to Beslan, Russia held a service this week to mourn the victims of the city's hostage drama. On Tuesday, about 27 people came together outside the Russian Ministries (RM) offices in Wheaton, Ill., to pray for the families of more than 330 hostages killed in the siege of a school in southern Russia. A radical Islamic group affiliated with Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri took "credit" for last Friday's massacre, which ended a three-day siege of the Russian school. Russian medical workers have said that of the hundreds of victims, half were children. Russian Ministries, which promotes Christianity in the former Soviet Union, was hit hard by the tragedy. Two pastors who work with RM lost six of their children during the ordeal. Sergey Rakhuba, a vice president of Russian Ministries who had visited the Beslan region in April, said that the school site will be as painful to many Russians as Ground Zero in New York is to many Americans. RM has created a Terror Relief Fund ( to help the people of Beslan. Rakhuba said there are enormous spiritual, emotional and physical needs, adding that donations made to the relief fund carry no administrative expenses. (