Religious Liberty Alert | Week ending Friday 19 December 2008

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The Gambia - Israel - Iraq - Malaysia - Nigeria - Venezuela



UPDATE: David and Fiona Fulton continue to be held in jail pending their appearance in court on sedition charges. The BBC reports that the case has been adjourned. 'The prosecution has accused the couple of writing letters to individuals and groups abroad to "bring into hatred or contempt, to excite disaffection" against the Gambian president.' David Fulton is also writing a book, the content of which is likely to be used against him in court. The couple remain separated from their daughter.

Delay to missionary workers' case
BBC News | 16 December 2008



Messianic Jews Jamie and Stacy Cowen were detained at Ben Gurion airport because, a ministry spokesman said, 'The Immigration and Population Authority has reliable information that the Cowens were involved in missionary activity prohibited by Israeli criminal law during their last visit to Israel.' The couple 'were permitted to enter Israel only after they agreed to sign a document that they would not engage in missionary activities during their stay'. Jamie Cowen is a director of the US Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.

Messianic Jews detained at Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem Post | 14 December 2008



The US Commission on International Religious Freedom 2008 study on religious freedom has been released. With reference to Iraq, 'The report names the minority religious groups being persecuted in Iraq, including the ancient Chaldean Catholics and Assyrian Christians, the Sabean Mandaeans and the Yazidis.' Republican Frank Wolf speaking at the launch of the report blamed the US government and churches in the US for not doing more for the people of Iraq. Chairwoman of the IRF commission, Felice D Gaer said, 'The lack of effective government action to protect these communities from abuses has established Iraq among the most dangerous places on earth for religious minorities.'

US Turns 'Blind Eye' to Persecution of Christians in Iraq, Congressman Says
CNS News | 17 December 2008


Yazidis, 'an ancient, religious sect' are one of the religious minorities to come under attack in Iraq. A Yazidis family was murdered by gunmen in their home. 'A number of attacks against Yazidis in recent years have been blamed on al-Qaeda in Iraq which views them as infidels.'

Yazidis targeted in Iraq attack
BBC News | 15 December 2008



UPDATE: Reuters reports, 'A Catholic newspaper in Malaysia may have just two more weeks in print unless the government backs off a threat to close it down over its use of the word "Allah" to describe the Christian god.' Representatives of the newspaper believe that the argument is politically motivated to incite religious conflict to retain power. 'Other religious groups have complained of persecution in this country of 27 million in which almost 60 percent of the population is Malay and Muslim but which has substantial ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities who practise a variety of faiths.'

Malaysia Catholic paper may close in "Allah" row
Reuters | 17 December 2008



Eight men who arrived in Nigeria shortly after 'hundreds of people were killed in the central city of Jos in violence between Muslim and Christian groups' in November, have been arrested for 'trying to incite violence through their sermons'. 'The men, believed to be six Gambians and two Indians, were arrested at a mosque near the capital Abuja a week ago, police have revealed.'

Nigeria holds foreign 'Islamists'
BBC News | 16 December 2008



Voice of the Martyrs reported on the Latin American Herald Tribune article about a Christian Evangelist who was decapitated along with his wife and young daughter in their home. Police believe that the crime was carried out by a satanic cult due to the slogans painted on the house's wall before the home was set on fire.

Venezuela Pastor and Family Decapitated in Satanic Ritual
Latin American Herald Tribune, Venezuela -- 14 Dec 2008


The next RLA will be issued on Friday 9 January 2009.

Digest compiled by World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission (RLC). All URL links were active when the digest was issued. Whilst the RLC has taken every care in selecting the items included, their authenticity depends on the original source.

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