A Sharia law court in northern Nigeria ordered four men to be whipped after they were found guilty of homosexuality this week.
The court forced each of the four men, who ranged in age from 22 to 28, to lie on the floor of the room and receive 15 lashes from horsewhips, Dorothy Aken'Ova, the Executive Director of the Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights Network, told France 24. They were also fined $125, which could cause future problems for them, as if they are not able to come up the funds they could be forced to spend a year in prison.
"The court session was kept secret from the public and the judgment given and executed before the news filtered into the city," court clerk Abdul Mohammed confirmed. more >>
Kenya churches are speaking out against western criticism of anti-gay laws and attitudes in African countries, with some comparing homosexuality to colonialism and slavery.
A news conference last week led by Bishop Arthur Gitonga of the Redeemed Church in Kenya apparently included comments such as "homosexuality is equivalent to colonialism and slavery," "we feel it's like a weapon of mass destruction" and "it is not biblical and cannot bring blessing to Christians," Religion News Service reported on Thursday.
Wycliffe Associates, an organization that focuses on accelerating Bible translation around the world, plans to send volunteers to South Sudan to influence unreached people, many of whom are without the scriptures in their own language. Its been five years, since the end of the region's civil war that interrupted Wycliffe's efforts, that the translation of the Gospel that began in the 1980s restarts.
"Southern Sudan is special because of the opportunity created by the end of a civil war with the northern part of Sudan…it's a culture with strong elements of animism and Christianity where scripture in the heart languages of the people can make a huge impact," said Don Hallman, spokesman for Wycliffe Associates, to The Christian Post.
An estimated one million South Sudanese, speaking 54 languages, do not have biblical resources. Out of those, six are considered dying languages. However, Wycliffe aims to bring hope to families living in refugee camps that are desperate for God's word. more >>
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has stepped up its attack efforts in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, reportedly killing 150 people over the weekend. A senator from Borno state said this week that the violence has become so unmanageable that soldiers flee with villagers when the militants arrive, as they are outnumbered and lack proper weapons to fight the militants.
The intense violence took place over the weekend, when Boko Haram militants swarmed three cities in the Borno state, killing a reported total of 150 from Friday to Sunday. Although Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has allowed the military extra power to curb the extremist group, recent reports indicate that Boko Haram's numbers have been too large for local military to sustain.
Ahmad Zannah, a senator from Borno state, told BBC earlier this week that when Boko Haram militants arrived in Borno over the weekend, military personnel fled along with the villagers because there was not enough manpower to fight the militants. "When the attack took place, all of them ran away, along with the villagers. There was no resistance." more >>
A top Islamic institute in Egypt has called for a ban on Darren Aronofsky's upcoming "Noah" movie, arguing that the Hollywood film provokes people and violates Islamic law.
Al-Azhar, a main Sunni Muslim institute, said in statement on Thursday that movies like "Noah" are "contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia [law]," and announced that it is prohibiting the screening of films that personify biblical figures, Al Arabiya News reported.
"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad]," the institute said, adding that such productions "provoke people's feelings." more >>
A Roman Catholic Church cardinal has criticized the Ugandan anti-gay law that expanded punishment for gay people and threatened life in prison for certain offenders, arguing that gay people "are not criminals."
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made the comments Tuesday in Bratislava, Slovakia, during a church and human rights conference, according to CatholicHearald.co.uk. He urged the international community, however, to keep sending much needed aid to Uganda, which is now facing cuts and sanctions because of the law.
Uganda's decision to expand the legal punishment for homosexuality has been criticized by some world leaders, though the nation's political and church leaders have insisted that it is their right to manage the country according to their ways. more >>