Zprávy HCJB 23.1.2008

 Automobilové bomby a neklid děsí a deprimují irácké křesťany
   Policista a mladá dívka byli zraněni ve čtvrtek 17. ledna v Mosulu v Iráku, 350 kilometrů severně od Bagdádu, když auto s výbušninou explodovalo před chaldejským kostelem Al-Tahíra. Irácká policie oznámila, že později zastřelila řidiče tohoto vozu a překazila tak jeho pokus napadnout policejní stanoviště. Podle irácké křesťanské stránky Ankawa.com na základě oznámení o přítomnosti neznámého auta parkujícího před kostelem policie již předtím oblast vyklidila a čekala na pyrotechniky, když vůz náhle explodoval. V době výbuchu se podle svědka v kostele nezdržoval žádný věřící, ale byla rozbita okna, vstupní dveře a zídka kolem kostela. Chaldejský pomocný biskup bagdádský Šlemon Warduni řekl v otištěné poznámce, že útok prohloubil úzkost mezi křesťany. „Mnoho lidí letos zahynulo a mnoho jiných bylo uneseno a tak ti ostatní jsou nyní smutní a plní obav,“ řekl Warduni. Šlo již o druhý útok na chrám Al-Tahíra. Chrám byl uzavřen již před dvěma lety po prvním útoku. Řada křesťanských budov se v tomto měsíci stala cílem bombových útoků – v Mosulu, Kirkúku a Bagdádu. Zdroj: BosNewsLife, Compass News Direct
 Všechny zprávy v angličtině

Sources: Assist News Service, Religion Today
Muslims in Indonesia are generally tolerant in spite of emerging radical groups espousing violence, former President Abdurrahman Wahid said. Wahid told UCA News, “Muslims in Indonesia put mutual interest ahead of their own interest.” He pointed out that even though 88 percent of the country’s 218 million people are Muslims, Indonesians did not build their country as an Islamic state. The national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity), reflects this, he said. Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, headed Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, before serving as the country’s president 1999-2001. Wahid noted that a May survey conducted by Wahid Institute, a socio-religious research and advocacy group he established, found 95.4 percent of Muslims see inter-religious tolerance as important for a peaceful Indonesia. Of the 1,047 Muslims in 33 provinces surveyed, 84.4 percent agreed they need to offer peace and tolerance to believers of other religions. Only 10.6 percent disagreed.

* HCJB Global Voice has worked with local partners to establish more than 26 local Christian radio stations across Indonesia since 2004. Broadcasts from HCJB Global-Australia’s shortwave station in Kununurra also encourage listeners nationwide. In addition, HCJB Global Hands has helped with relief efforts since the December 2004 earthquake/tsunami and subsequent quakes that devastated parts of Indonesia.


Source: Assist News Service
Indonesian Protestant pastors have asked the National Commission on Human Rights to help deal with the issue of Christian worship places being forced to close. More than 60 pastors met on Monday, Jan. 14, with Ifdhal Kasim, chairperson of the commission at his office in Jakarta. The pastors belong to the Association of Indonesian Church People (HAGAI), formed in 2005 by Protestants forced to stop using worship venues not formally registered as such. During the two-hour meeting, HAGAI coordinator Alma Shephard Supit said he had met previously with several Muslim leaders to discuss the issue. “But the problem remains, because the forced closures and attacks on worship places have continued to occur,” he added. In his view, Christians find it difficult to hold religious services because of the revised joint ministerial decree on the establishment of worship places. According to the revised decree, a religious community that is not of the local majority community needs a congregation of at least 90 people and must secure the approval of 60 local people from other religions before it can obtain permission to build a worship venue. Local officials must authenticate the submitted lists.


Source: Forum 18 News Service
Uzbekistan has dropped criminal charges against members of Grace Church in the capital city of Tashkent after the authorities’ claim that a cough medicine was psychotropic (mind-altering) was proved false. However, church members have said they face fresh official threats to evict them from their church building. “Many religious organizations are now frightened,” said one local activist on Wednesday, Jan. 16. “Everyone believes the Grace Church case is a trial balloon. Everyone is afraid that churches’ right to property will be reviewed.” Meanwhile, a major state-run newspaper, Narodnoe Slovo, has resumed the authorities’ periodic campaigns to incite intolerance, by reprinting articles on Grace Church. Among false accusations are that it is “hypnotizing” people that “when false preachers run out of words and dollars to attract credulous parishioners they turn to psychotropic substances,” and that “greedy pastors tried to stupefy the minds of our children.” Previous state intolerance campaigns have coincided with increased persecution. When challenged as to why the government newspaper is inciting intolerance, assistant Editor-in-Chief Salam Daniyarov claimed, “we have freedom of speech,” and put the telephone receiver down.

* HCJB Global Voice airs 2.5 hours of Uzbek programs per week from an AM station outside the country. More than 15 million people speak this language.


Sources: BosNewsLife, Compass News Direct
A policeman and a young girl were injured on Thursday, Jan. 17, in Mosul, Iraq, 240 miles north of Baghdad when a vehicle rigged with explosives exploded in front of the Al-Tahira Chaldean church. Iraqi police reported they later shot dead the driver of the car, foiling his attempt to attack a police checkpoint. Acting on reports that an unfamiliar vehicle was parked outside the church, police had already cleared the area and were waiting for a team of bomb experts to arrive when the car exploded, Iraqi Christian website Ankawa.com reported. No worshipers were in the church at the time of the recent explosion, although church windows, the front door and a wall around the church grounds were damaged, witnesses said. Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni said in published remarks that the attack has added to anxiety among Christians.” Many people have been killed and many have been kidnapped this year, so our people are very sad and afraid,” he said. The attack was reportedly the second on Al-Tahira which has been closed since the first attack two years ago. Several Christian buildings were targeted by bombers earlier this month with blasts in Mosul, Kirkuk and Baghdad.


Sources: Christian Post, Religion Today
A conference combining global secular and Christian leaders heard a common message from many of its non-religious speakers -- do not lose human connection due to technology. The advice given at the Rethink Conference at the Crystal Cathedral Jan. 17-19 can be a bit of a surprise coming from influential leaders who profit from mass communication technology. Rethink Executive Director Bill Dallas recalled, “Larry King was amazing in just helping us understand that although technology is certainly useful and important, we sometimes lose connection points.” Prior to the conference, organizers had come under criticism for inviting secular speakers to advise Christians on how to improve their ministry. Rethink organizers had adamantly defended the conference, saying they were seeking to help people “rethink” the methods in communicating the Word of God -- not the gospel message itself. Dallas said if speakers were not directly delivering a faith message, then they were sharing about technology and how that could help or harm the message. “Technology that helps and complements our daily lives is useful,” said Dallas. “But when it becomes a crutch or when it becomes where we lose connection with people then it is dangerous.”

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