Despite fears by Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church that the country's Muslim Brotherhood majority government will draft a constitution mirroring Islamic Sharia law, the denomination's new pope is encouraging politicians to not ignore Christians.
"The beauty of Egyptian society is the presence of Muslims beside Christians. Diversity is strong and beautiful," said Pope Tawadros II during an interview with Reuters news service earlier this week. Tawadros was appointed last Sunday to replace Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after leading Egypt's Orthodox Christians for four decades.
"If a good constitution is presented in which every person finds himself [represented], there is no doubt Egypt will develop," the pope said. "But if the constitution addresses one part of the community and ignores another it will take society backwards." more >>
A pastor in Pakistan has been denied bail after he was accused of blasphemy and arrested by police, who protected him from a mob of angry Muslims.
Karma Patras was originally arrested on Oct. 13, after he held a prayer meeting at a Christian family's house in Sanghla Hill in central Punjab province, where he was asked about the meaning and relevance of the Muslim feast of sacrifice, Eid-al-Adha. The festival, celebrated by Muslims throughout the world, honors the sacrifice to God Abraham was willing to make by offering his first-born son Ishmael, as found in the Book of Genesis.
As reported by persecution watchdog International Christian Voice, Pastor Patras said that the feast was strictly a Muslim one and was forbidden for Christians. Patras quoted Corinthians 10:28-29, which says: "But if anyone says to you, 'This was offered to idols,' do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for 'the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness. 'Conscience,' I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience?" more >>
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood majority government continues to debate the phrasing used while drafting its new constitution that will more than likely have Islamic Sharia law as its foundation. A religious persecution watchdog group says the implementation of such a constitution is expected and can only mean deepening trouble for Christians in the country.
"It is hardly a surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood is now pushing Sharia as the law of the land in Egypt," said Jerry Dykstra, director of communications at Open Doors USA. "Strict Islamic law has always been its main agenda for Egypt. President Morsi attempted to disguise this before the election, saying his government would be moderate. Now the true face of extreme Islam is being unveiled to the world. The high hopes of the revolution and overthrow of Mubarak have now been replaced by the reality of another form of extremist government – an Islamist one."
Since last year's removal of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, Islamists have dominated every election and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi is the president. However, the Brotherhood is being pressured by ultraconservatives known as Salafis to make sure Sharia is followed nearly to the letter if not entirely. more >>
As the result of recent violence in the Middle East, a pastor who grew up in a Muslim household focused his message during a popular Christian leadership webcast on discussing how the Church should engage and love the Muslim community.
"The future of Islam is directly related to the future of the Church. The question [then becomes], is the church going to be what it is right now or is it going to be radically changed? Because I believe this, I believe it needs to change," said Naeem Fazal, pastor of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, N.C., during the first day of the two-day "Nines" conference on Thursday.
"It needs to leverage the strongest, the most forceful thing, the most irresistible thing that we have and that is the love of the Father," Fazal continued. "You see the reality you and I live in [as Christians] is because of the love of the Father. It was the Father who loved the world, us, so much that He gave his son for us. In fact, He sent us his Spirit so we could find comfort and be guided by his Spirit. Jesus is the way to the Father." more >>
An evangelical social-justice-focused organization has expanded its billboard campaign stressing religious tolerance in response to a recent arson attack on an Ohio mosque.
The Washington, DC-based Sojourners will post several billboards within the next seven to ten days which will read "Love Your Muslim Neighbors."
The billboards will be located off of I-75 near the I-75/I-475 interchange, which is near the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, which was recently the target of an arson attack. more >>
IRVINE, Calif. – Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship church took the opportunity during his Sunday sermon series on the book of Revelation to talk about the current events in the Middle East as it relates to Bible prophecy. He also pointed to the controversy during the Democratic National Convention over the party's vote on including Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in its platform as highly ironic.
"It seems like every time you turn around there's another outbreak of violence or at least a threat of one," Laurie said during last Sunday's sermon shared at his two Southern California churches in Riverside and Orange County. "Iranian president Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for the destruction of both the nation Israel and the United States and recently stood before the members of the U.N. speaking of an Islamic messiah and a new world order that is coming. Haven't I heard this before?"
Laurie then described events in the Middle East that were perhaps misinterpreted by some people at first. more >>