|Zprávy HCJB 17.2.2005|
|ERITREJSKÉ ÚŘADY UVĚZNILY DALŠÍCH 31 EVANGELIJNÍCH KŘESŤANŮ|
| Dalších 31 křesťanů ze severovýchodní Afriky z Eritrey bylo během posledních tří týdnů uvězněno. Celkový počet lidí uvězněných letos za „ilegální“ křesťanskou činnost v zemi tak stoupl na 187. Úřady vzaly do vazby 14 členů sboru Kale Hiwot v Adi-Tekelzan (30 km severně od hlavního města Asmary) v pátek 4. února během biblické hodiny s jejich pastorem. V úterý 1. února byl uvězněn Semere Zaid, křesťanský profesor univerzity v Asmaře, když se ohlásil na policii po návratu ze studijní cesty v zahraničí. Na policii šel dobrovolně spolu s představiteli univerzity poté, co zjistil, že je sledován. Policie pracovníky univerzity vykázala a Zaida bez obvinění uvěznila. V sobotu 12. února bylo uvězněno 15 křesťanek na policejní stanici v Keren, třetím největším eritrejském městě 60 km severovýchodně od Asmary. V Keren byl také v posledním lednovém týdnu byl uvězněn lékař jménem Segid. Místní úřady vydávají evangelijní křesťany za „nebezpečí pro národní bezpečnost.“ (Compass/Voice of the Martyrs)
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| ERITREAN AUTHORITIES JAIL ANOTHER 31 EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS
Another 31 Christians in the northeastern African country of Eritrea have been jailed in the past three weeks, bringing the number of people arrested for "illegal" Christian activities in the country this year to 187. Authorities apprehended 14 members of the Kale Hiwot Church in Adi-Tekelzan (20 miles north of the capital Asmara) Friday, Feb. 4, during a Bible study at the home of their pastor. On Tuesday, Feb. 1, Semere Zaid, a Christian professor at the University of Asmara, was arrested when he turned himself in to police after returning from studying abroad. He had voluntarily gone to the police station along with officials from the university after discovering that the task force was investigating him. Police asked the university officials to leave and arrested Zaid without charges. On Saturday, Feb. 12, 15 Christian women were jailed at the police station in Keren, Eritrea's third-largest town, 40 miles northwest of Asmara. A physician identified as Dr. Segid was also arrested in Keren during the last week of January. Local authorities reportedly described the evangelical believers as a "threat to national security." (Compass/Voice of the Martyrs)
UZBEKISTAN OFFICIALS DENY CHURCH'S REGISTRATION
On Friday, Jan. 7, the Tashkent Justice Department in Uzbekistan refused to register the Peace Church, a local Protestant congregation citing, among others, "grammatical and spelling mistakes" in the application. Ironically, it was reported that the Justice Department's reply to the church itself contained a number of grammatical errors. The Peace Church and a Jehovah's Witness congregation in Tashkent are the latest victims of the state's refusal to grant registration to religious communities. Since the country's religion law makes the activities of unregistered religious communities subject to criminal prosecution, members of both churches are now at risk for fines and jail terms. The Jehovah's Witnesses in Tashkent have long been denied registration. "The Tashkent Justice Department simply refuses to accept our application documents," said church spokesperson Andrei Shirobokov earlier this month. Begzot Kadyrov, senior assistant at the government's Committee for Religious Affairs, admitted that only one new non-Muslim religious community was registered in Uzbekistan in 2004. (Forum 18 News Service)
* HCJB World Radio airs weekly Uzbek programs from an AM station outside the country. A total of 15 million people speak this language.
ANTI-HATE LAWS RAISE CONCERNS OF CHRISTIANS IN U.K., SWEDEN
The British government is seeking to extend its existing hate crimes law to include "religious hatred." The proposed legislation, Schedule 10 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, passed the House of Commons on Feb. 7 and is now before the House of Lords. There are concerns that if this legislation passes, religious leaders and organizations may experience some of the same difficulties as found in Australia's Victoria state where two Christian speakers were recently found guilty of vilification of Muslims under the state's "Racial and Religious Tolerance Act." Similar legislation led to the conviction of Swedish pastor Ake Green last June. However, the Goeta Appeals Court overturned Green's conviction on Feb. 11. While pleased with the verdict, Green expects the case to move on to the country's Supreme Court. (Voice of the Martyrs)
CATHOLIC COUPLE IN MICHIGAN FINED FOR TAKING MISSIONS TRIP TO CUBA
An administrative law judge handed a $5,250 fine to a Michigan couple Thursday, Feb. 10, for visiting Cuba in 2001 on what they called a religious mission. Michael and Andrea McCarthy, devout Catholics from Port Huron, said they brought medicines and prayed with a group of nuns in Havana. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees enforcement of the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba, had asked for $9,750 in fines. But in a decision released Thursday, Judge Irwin Schroeder said that was too high because of the McCarthys' "limited ability to pay." Michael is a physician's assistant and Andrea is a registered nurse. Schroeder said the McCarthys committed a serious "violation of the law." At a penalty hearing in December, Michael Neufeld, a Treasury attorney, testified that the McCarthys spent only a fraction of their almost weeklong trip in Cuba on religious activities. Michael McCarthy said he was disappointed that there was any fine. "It's another punitive thing that tries to keep people afraid of each other in the two countries," he said, adding that he and wife did not regret taking the trip. The McCarthys' attorney, Kurt Berggren, said he is considering an appeal. (WorldWide Religious News/The Sun-Sentinel)
BIBLE TEACHER, AUTHOR JUDSON CORNWALL DIES AT AGE 80
Renowned Pentecostal Bible teacher Judson Cornwall, whose itinerant ministry ended four years ago because of cancer, has died at age 80. After suffering a severe stroke on Feb. 8, Cornwall died the evening of Friday, Feb. 11, in his Phoenix home. "It was while listening to his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Justine, sing a favorite chorus, 'Into Thy Presence We Come,' that he entered the presence of the Lord," said Iverna Tompkins, Cornwall's sister. Cornwall, who ministered worldwide for more than 20 years and was a third-generation minister, started recording his books on tape for an Oklahoma-based blind ministry in 2003. One of the pioneers of contemporary worship, Cornwall authored more than 50 books, many of which have been translated into other languages. His last book, Dying with Grace, was written at the urging of his publisher to counsel others from his wheelchair. (Religion Today/Charisma News Service)
MINISTRIES JOIN TO BROADCAST DRAMATIZED SCRIPTURE PROGRAM IN INDIA
International Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio (TWR) is cooperating with two other organizations to broadcast a dramatized Bible program to Malayalam language speakers in India. In partnership with Hosanna/Faith Comes by Hearing and the International Bible Society, TWR began airing the Radio Bible broadcast on Saturday, Jan. 1, to southwestern India's Kerala state. The Radio Bible Malayalam project comprises 416 30-minute broadcasts aired semi-weekly via a powerful AM transmitter. All of the New Testament and most of the Old Testament will be heard during a two-year period. While the core of the program is the dramatized Scripture presentation, it also includes background material and on-the-ground follow-up so listeners can better understand and apply God's Word. Kerala is home to more than 30 million Malayalam speakers. (Trans World Radio)
* "The Voice of the Great Southland," the shortwave station operated by HCJB World Radio-Australia since January 2003, airs more than 108 hours of weekly Christian programming in 11 languages, including nine spoken in India (English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali, Malayalam, Chattisgarhi, Hmar and Meeitei). Programs in these languages are produced at HCJB World Radio's studio in New Delhi. Programs also air via FEBA Radio's transmitters in three languages (Bhojpuri, Chattisgarhi and Mundari).
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