Religion news 29 July 2021

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Image credit: Open Doors

More than 3,000 Christians hacked to death in Nigeria this year

The Brussels-based Human Rights Without Frontiers says that jihadists have hacked to death 3,462 Christians in Nigeria since January, just short of the total deaths recorded in 2020. In the same period, 3,000 Christians were abducted and 300 churches were threatened, attacked, closed, destroyed or burnt. The human rights campaigner Lord Alton said it was “deeply saddening” that those responsible had evaded justice. He added that the Nigerian government faced accusations of culpability and complicity in the killings.

US Capitol rioters perceived themselves to be Christians

A police officer described the insurrectionists who attacked the US Capitol in January as terrorists who perceived themselves to be Christians, the Religion News Service reports. Washington DC Officer Daniel Hodges was giving evidence to a congressional committee investigating the riots. He said the crowd brandished banners steeped in Christian symbolism along with those bearing the name Trump: “I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read, ‘Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.’ Another: ‘Jesus is king’ … Another had crossed rifles beneath a skull, emblazoned with the pattern of the American flag.”

Covid vaccination campaign in Tanzania defies Christian critics

The new President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has been given a Covid-19 vaccine in a carefully staged publicity campaign that encourages everyone to get vaccinated. Her predecessor, John Magufuli, played down the virus, calling for prayer instead of vaccines and masks. Last week an evangelical church leader and a member of the national assembly caused widespread anger when he disparaged vaccines. The country of 58 million people has recorded 29 Covid deaths and 858 cases but there are fears the true numbers are higher. The World Health Organisation has reported a 43 per cent rise in deaths in Africa in a week.

US pressures Poland to abandon law preventing holocaust restitution

The Associated Press reports that the United States is ramping up pressure on Poland to stop legislation that would prevent families from receiving restitution for property seized during the Holocaust and communist era. It reports that the US said: “Poland is the only country in Europe to have regressed over the past year in meeting commitments to return seized property or provide compensation for Holocaust victims and their families”. The proposed compensation law has been denounced by Israel, Jewish groups and the US.

£1.6bn for Christian charity helping the disabled

The Christian-based charity Livability has been given £1.6bn by the government to improve the lives of disabled people in housing, transport, education and work. The first tranche will go on helping disabled people back into the workplace. The charity says it has “a dynamic and inclusive Christian ethos” and welcomes people from all faiths and none. Premier Christian News has the story

Top Olympic athletes speak about their faith

Religion Unplugged has listed Olympic athletes who have spoken about their faith. The article by Liza Vandenboom Ashley includes biogs and comments from Dalilah Muhammad, hurdling for USA; Anat Lelior, surfing for Israel; Diego Schwartzman, tennis for Argentina; Kyle Snyder, wrestling for USA; and Cat Osterman, softball for USA.

Glasgow church roof collapses in devastating blaze

The roof of St Simon’s, the third oldest Roman Catholic church in Glasgow, collapsed in a huge fire early today. The Archdiocese of Glasgow said: “Though small in size, St Simon’s was well-frequented and was the spiritual home of the Polish community in the west of Scotland who had established a shrine there.” The cause of the blaze is unknown.

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