Religion News Roundup, February 23, 2011
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday February 23, 2011
- Father in prayer-death case claims jury might have been biased: A man says he should get a new trial because jurors in his prayer-death trial could have been biased after learning that his wife was previously convicted in the case. Dale Neumann, 49, of Weston, and his wife, Leilani, 42, are asking for new trials, saying they were improperly defended in separate second-degree homicide trials in 2009.
- Lawsuit alleges FBI violated Muslims’ freedom of religion: An FBI informant who infiltrated a California mosque violated the constitutional rights of hundreds of Muslims by targeting them for surveillance because of their religion, the ACLU and Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a lawsuit Tuesday. The lawsuit, filed against the FBI and seven of its agents and supervisors, focuses on the actions several years ago of Craig Monteilh, a paid FBI informant. Monteilh has said he was instructed to spy on worshipers at an Irvine mosque in a quest for potential terrorists, allegations that prompted fierce criticism of the FBI from some Muslims in Southern California and nationwide.
- Second-degree murder verdict in ‘honor killing’ trial: An Arizona jury on Tuesday found an Iraqi immigrant guilty of running down his daughter and another woman in a parking lot in Oct. 2009. Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing his daughter Noor, 20, and of aggravated assault for injuring her boyfriend’s mother, Amal Khalaf, 41.
- Bible Sharing Couple Hijacked by Somali Pirates & Killed: Somali pirates hijacked and killed Scott and Jean Adam a sailing couple distributing Bibles around the world. Passengers Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were also killed. A fleet of four U.S. naval warships had been trailing the yacht for several days and was in the middle of negotiating the couple’s release. See also: Evangelism and piracy on the high seas
- Judge Tosses Suit Against Health Care Law: A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit claiming that President Barack Obama’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance violates the religious freedom of those who rely on God to protect them. Three of the plaintiffs are Christians who said they want to refuse all medical services for the rest of their lives because they believe God will heal their afflictions. They say being forced to buy insurance would conflict with their faith because they believe doing so would indicate they need “a backup plan and [are] not really sure whether God will, in fact, provide,” the lawsuit said.
- Woman in Carmarthenshire ‘cult’ trial denies teenager was forced into sex: Batley rejected prosecution suggestions that she was involved in the “occult”, but admitted that she had once made robes for adults to wear at a “fertility celebration” at her home in honour of Mother Earth. The trial involves not guilty pleas to an indictment comprising more than 40 charges — and there are five alleged victims, who cannot be named in press reports for legal reasons
- Indian man with world’s largest family of 39 wives, 94 kids ready to marry again: Ziona Chana and his family live in a 100-room, four-storey house set amidst the hills of Baktwang village in Mizoram, where the wives sleep in giant communal dormitories. He heads a local Christian religious sect, called the ‘Chana’, which allows polygamy. Formed in June 1942, the sect believes it will soon be ruling the world with Christ and has a membership of around 400 families.
- ‘Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans’: Laid-back Sweden questions its welcome for Muslims
- ‘Troops burn in hell’ chants at poppy trial: Muslim extremists chanted “British troops burn in hell” outside court today as two men went on trial for burning poppies in public on Remembrance Day. The defendants were part of a group who shouted slogans that British soldiers were rapists and murderers during a demonstration on November 11 last year. The two men are accused of public disorder by using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of people who would be harassed, alarmed or disturbed by it”. The incident happened during a two-minute silence close to the Royal Albert Hall where the Remembrance Day service is traditionally held. Note: Islamic terrorists have carried out nearly 17000 deadly terrorist attacks since 9/11.
- 31 convicted in deadly train fire that sparked fatal anti-Muslim riots in India: An Indian court in the western state of Gujarat has found 31 Muslims guilty of setting fire to a train coach nine years ago, killing 59 Hindu passengers in an incident that sparked some of the worst religious violence in India in recent years. The Sabarmati Express train was carrying Hindu activists who were returning from a pilgrimage. The burning of the train triggered reprisal riots in the following days that left more than 1,000 Muslims dead in Gujarat.
- Swami’s confession points to Hindu terrorism: India is being forced to confront evidence that suggests a secret Hindu terror network may have committed a wave of deadly attacks blamed on radical Muslims. Information contained in a confession given in court by a Hindu holy man suggests that he and several others linked to a right-wing Hindu organisation planned and actioned attacks on a train travelling to Pakistan, a Sufi shrine and a mosque as well as two assaults on Malegaon, a town in southern India with a large Muslim population. He claimed the attacks were launched in response to the actions of Muslim militants. “I told everybody that we should answer bombs with bombs,” Swami Aseemanand, 59, whose real name is Naba Kumar Sarkar, told a magistrate during a closed hearing in New Delhi.
Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
- Is the Anonymous-Westboro Baptist Church feud a hoax?: Conflicting reports confound the media’s coverage of hacker group ultimatum to controversial anti-gay church
- Hideously diverse Britain: ‘This church is for everybody’: A pastor in the east end of London is on a misison to welcome more working-class white people to his congregation
- Demystifying Islam in a strained Britain: The Khayaal Theatre Company is a charitable group that interprets classic Muslim literature and turns almost-forgotten stories into plays. Its mission is to highlight the Islamic world’s rich cultural heritage and demystify the religion, thereby combating prejudice and misunderstanding.
- Christchurch earthquake: New Zealand city ‘embodies Church of England dream’: The New Zealand city of Christchurch, devastated by a new massive earthquake, embodies the dream of the Church of England to create a Christian city on the other side of the world.
- Two Peoria churches hope to desegregate Sunday mornings: Black, white church hope combined worship is just the start of relationship that’s not segregated
- Utah city recognizes L. Ron Hubbard Day: The founder of Scientology had no direct ties to Utah, but the state’s second-largest city has recognized the 100th anniversary of his birth with a proclamation. The mayor aid the city routinely grants requests for similar proclamations. Still, honoring a liar who founded a destructive cult seems odd.
- Bath festival’s reading will revive the spirit of the King James Bible: It was written, says Jeanette Winterson, ‘to be read out loud’. A cover-to-cover preachathon at Bath should test that theory
- Naval Academy Graduate Wins Conscientious Objector Bid: Shortly after Michael Izbicki, now 25, graduated from the Naval Academy in 2008, he decided that his Christian beliefs would not permit him to take part in war.
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