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Religion Today Summaries - September 13, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 13, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Somali Convert to Christianity Kidnapped, Beheaded
  • Five House-Church Leaders Leave Labor Camps
  • James Dobson Falls From Horse; Suffers Broken Bones
  • Toxic Drywall Puts End to Catholic Katrina Program


Somali Convert to Christianity Kidnapped, Beheaded

A kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was found decapitated on Sept. 2 on the outskirts of Hudur City, Compass Direct News reports. Juma Nuradin Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab terrorist group on Aug. 21. The kidnapping and subsequent manner of murder suggests that al Shabaab militants had been monitoring him. Muslim extremists from al Shabaab, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, and they control the area some 400 kilometers from Mogadishu. A Christian who saw Kamil’s body said it bore the marks of an al Shabaab killing. “It is usual for the al Shabaab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith, or sympathizers of western ideals,” the leader said. “Our brother accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.” Another Christian convert who lives in another city said Kamil had become a Christian three years ago.

Five House-Church Leaders Leave Labor Camps

According to Mission Network News, after two years of grueling labor, five house-church leaders were released last week from labor camps in China. Since September 13, 2009, Fao Fuqin, Zhao Guoai, Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen and Li Shuangpin experienced physical and psychological torment in a Chinese labor camp. All five men are leaders in the 50,000-member Linfen house church movement. The men were arrested in the aftermath of an attack on Linfen, when over 400 local police, government officials and hired men attacked one of the church branches. The attackers demolished a church building and clashed with several hundred members of the church, sending 30 to the hospital. Five church leaders were detained and sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years during a one-day show trial, and five were sentenced to two years of re-education through labor. Church members are scattered, but they continue to meet and worship in private homes. The five leaders released last week have suffered much but now feel strong. "We who have been released express our most sincere gratitude to the brothers and sisters around the world who have been concerned about us and who have helped us," they told ChinaAid.

James Dobson Falls From Horse; Suffers Broken Bones

Evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson suffered several broken bones after a horseback riding accident this past weekend while on vacation in Montana with his wife, son and friends, The Christian Post reports. Family Talk co-host LuAnne Crane said in a radio broadcast Monday that Dobson fell and fractured his clavicle, his scapula and seven ribs. According to Crane, Dobson is in "very good spirits" and he is expected to make a full recovery. Family Talk has asked for prayers from ministry supporters and radio program listeners. Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent Colorado Springs-based ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. Dobson, 75, left the ministry in 2010 after handing the leadership over to Jim Daly. With a $1 million grant from Focus on the Family, Dobson began his new radio show, Family Talk, nearby that same year.

Toxic Drywall Puts End to Catholic Katrina Program

According to Religion News Service, Operation Helping Hands, the Catholic ministry that employed thousands of volunteers to rebuild nearly 200 homes after Hurricane Katrina, said it would shut down next summer because of its disastrous encounter with toxic Chinese drywall. Kevin Fitzpatrick, director of Helping Hands, and Gordon Wadge, president of Catholic Charities, said Helping Hands might have had enough funds to continue for two or three years, but then it came across a massive amount of repairs mandated by tainted Chinese drywall. High-sulfur Chinese drywall entered the U.S. market during the building boom of 2006 and later, and homeowners found that the material emitted vapors that corroded electronics, ruined appliances and air conditioning, tarnished jewelry, aggravated respiratory conditions and often drove families from their homes. Nonprofit agencies that helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina soon found that they had installed the drywall in more than 200 homes before realizing it was toxic. Nonprofit groups like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together New Orleans, like Operation Helping Hands, elected to shoulder the full costs of repairing homes where the drywall was installed. In many cases, that ran to $40,000 a home, Fitzpatrick and others said.