Mapping ISIL’s Attacks in 2015

In 2015, more than 50 attacks, in which almost 1,000 civilians were killed, were committed in the name of ISIL.

CHR Comment: The number of Christians martyred by ISIS in 2015 is not readily available. Among those mentioned on this map infographic would be the 21 Coptic Christians abducted this January in Libya. The Huffington Post story below gives a detailed account of some these men’s lives. The USA Today article includes another map as well as a point by point description of ISIS attacks. ISIS also targets non-Sunni Muslim groups, Yazidis, and anyone who stands in their way. Lord, have mercy on Your Church and all who face these terrorists.

Source: Mapping ISIL’s attacks in 2015 – Al Jazeera English

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/isis-christians-killed-_n_6703278.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/11/25/islamic-states-reach-extends-far-home/76379144/

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Two Sudanese Lutheran Churches and a Church of Christ Destroyed within One Month

Christians in the predominantly Muslim country of Sudan continue to suffer intense persecution, with the government engaging in a systematic destruction of churches, a conservative law group has warned.

CHR Comment: The Sudanese government is applying narrow interpretations of Sharia law to destroy church buildings and to persecute pastors. Some Muslim groups are also targeted. Since 2003, war in the region has led to more than 300,000 deaths.

Source: 3 Churches Destroyed in 1 Month Amid Rampant Christian Persecution in Sudan

Pope Francis Due in Kenya at Start of African Tour

Pope Francis is due in Kenya at the start of a three-nation visit to Africa, with thousands expected to come out to welcome him on his first visit to the continent.

CHR Comment: According to the article, the chief topics that Pope Francis will address are corruption, poverty, and religious conflict. In some of the nations he will visit, Muslims have attacked Christians (e.g., Kenya). African Catholics are gaining influence at the Vatican due to their increasing numbers. The article notes that one out of six Catholics lives in Africa.

Source: Pope Francis due in Kenya at start of African tour – BBC News

Boko Haram Attack in Yola, Nigeria

A blast killed in Nigeria killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria, an emergency official said.

CHR Comment: Yola is a regional capital and a community with many Christians since, for example, it is the location of Concordia College, a school founded by the Lutheran Church. This latest bombing, however, targeted a mosque since Boko Haram also attacks Muslims who do not support their movement.

Source: 32 dead in Nigeria blast blamed on Boko Haram

African Bishops Criticize Vatican’s Priorities as Eurocentric

The Catholic Church’s increasing diversity has deepened the rift between conservatives and progressives as Pope Francis pushes increasing acceptance for marginalized church members.

CHR Comment: Africans now comprise 16% of the Roman Catholic Church, which gives them greater influence. However, European and North American Catholics (“westerners”) still have 32% of the members and set the agenda for church discussions.

Source: African bishops criticize Vatican’s priorities as ‘Eurocentric’ – CSMonitor.com

Revivalist Churches Characterized as Threat

The West African country can no longer afford to ignore simmering religious tensions and the threat of extremist groups like Boko Haram.

CHR Comment: “Revivalist churches,” which have grown in the last thirty years, are described as contributing to religious tensions since they viewed as preaching intolerance and do not participate in religious dialogues. However, one might note that such groups are not known for violence as is the case with groups that assert themselves through terrorism. It is unclear how registering revival churches will alleviate tensions. Perhaps it is simply a way of taking stock of who they are and what they are doing.

Source: Cameroon must act to halt Boko Haram extremism creeping in | Opinion | Analysis | M&G

Yale Profs Call “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” a Forgery

In 2012 this purported fragment of a Coptic manuscript made headlines because in the text Jesus referred to “My wife.” Yale professors now conclude that it is a forgery. The article explains how they have reached that conclusion.

Why would a forger create this so-called Gospel? Likely motives include issues of women’s rights in the church such as the recent decision of the Church of England to ordain women bishops.

New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ – CNN.com.