Posts Tagged: Current Events

Current Events

Research: Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion

At the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010 and early 2011, many world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, expressed hope that the political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa would lead to greater freedoms for the people of the region, including fewer restrictions on religious beliefs and practices. But a new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the region’s already high overall level of restrictions on religion – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – continued to increase in 2011. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released…

Islam in Tanzania: Church Threatened With Violence

The Church in Tanzania faces threats from an Islamist group calling itself “Muslim Renewal,” as The Christian Post reported that this past Sunday Catholic priest Father Evarist Mushi was shot dead by assailants in front of Zanzibar’s St. Joseph’s Cathedral just before Sunday morning Mass. Following the killing, the Islamist group issued this statement: We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster. Read the full story here. The violence by Islamist extremists against churches in Tanzania has been…

Islam in Pakistan: Anti-Shi’ite Violence Could Be Big Problem

Time World recently ran a story about Pakistan’s “newest martyrs,” the minority Shi’ite population, looking at the tension between the various communities of Islam in the country. Read the full story here. The closing paragraph sums it up this way: “If, however, Shi‘ites are not going to feel safe in Pakistan, it will have grave consequences not just for the country but also the wider region. Pakistan’s Shi‘ite population is second only to neighboring Iran, where Shi‘ites are the majority and Shi‘ite Islam is embedded in the heart of the country’s politics. In the long term, it could be the most destabilizing of…

Islam in America: Prayer Group Rights in Prison

The “American Taliban,” John Walker Lindh, won a legal fight to allow him and fellow Muslim prisoners to gather for group prayer. Read the full story from CNN here. According to CNN, a federal judge ruled last week that the warden at the federal prison in Terre Haute, IN, was violating Lindh’s rights by not allowing the religious freedom.

UPDATE: A Letter From Pastor Saeed Abedini

A letter from imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini was recently shared with the U.S. Assemblies of God. In it he writes, “When I heard that empty Christmas settings were placed during Christmas as a reminder of my imprisonment and those imprisoned for Christ, tears of joy filled my eyes. I was able to share about this with other prisoners and they were shocked by the love and support we have for each other in Jesus. I told them how in the Bible we are all considered brothers and sisters (despite race, color, or nationality) and we are to share in…

A Call to Prayer for Saeed Abedini

An international call to prayer has gone out from Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, for the release of Saeed Abedini, who is imprisoned in Iran for his faith in Christ. In June 2012, Saeed and his wife, Naghmeh, spent time with Dr. Wood and related Saeed’s plans to return to Iran to visit family and continue his humanitarian work in developing a non-sectarian orphanage. He was nearing the end of that visit when he was detained by Iran authorities and imprisoned. During these months of incarceration, Dr. Wood has been in constant contact with…

Islam in Britain: Islam Is Fastest Growing Religion in Britain

According to a new census, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Britain, notes a story on OnIslam.net. Nick Spencer, research director at theology think-tank Theos, told The Daily Mail, “The census measures religious identification, not beliefs or practice. It’s about what people call themselves, and which group they wish to identify with.” Read the story here. Per the census, there are 33.2 million people claiming to be Christians, down from 37.3 million in 2001. That number is 59 percent of the population. It also found that the number of Muslims rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 percent, making it the fastest…

Islam in America: Pasadena Church To Host Muslim Convention

The Los Angeles Times and local TV station KTLA recently reported on the hate mail that All Saints Church in Pasadena received in response to the church’s decision to host a conference by the Muslims Public Affairs Council. The LA Times piece focuses on the people behind the hate mail, while the KTLA video gives statements from church officials. Find both the story and video here. Food for thought: As you read, consider your response if a church in your city chose to host a similar conference: Would you find yourself sending hate mail? Would you say anything at all? As you…

Islam in Iran: Iran Launches Islamic YouTube, ‘Mehr’

YouTube was banned in Iran in 2009, though many Iranians still use the site by bypassing Internet filters. Iran has now launched its own version of YouTube called Mehr, according to a story by Irish Independent (12/10). This video sharing site is “in full adherence with its strict interpretation of Islam” and is run by state broadcaster IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). Read more about the hows and whys here.

Islam in Europe: To Be in EU, Turkey Must Have Religious Freedom

“A leading ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Turkey on Wednesday to show it was serious about defending religious freedoms if it wanted to join the EU, saying it should let Christians build churches without restrictions,” says a Reuters story featured in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune. Before membership talks continue, Volker Kauder, leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, called for a “clear signal” on the issue from Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. “A country that wants to be part of Europe must accept the basic principle of religious freedom,” he said. Read the full story here. Turkey is a…

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