Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somali Christian killed, His four children kidnapped to be trained as soldiers

No longer wanting to be a muslim, Osman Abdullah Fataho converted to Christianity and became a member of an underground Christian movement. Because of his conversion, al-Shabaab used that as an excuse to murder him in front of his wife and children at his home located about 19 miles from Mogadishu, Somalia.

They took Fataho's children to be brainwashed in the ways of the Koran and trained as soldiers. Upon surrender of the children and because the assailants were not sure of her religion, the mother was let go.

Al-Shabaab is an Islamist insurgency group with ties to al-Qaeda and which pledges allegiance to Osama bin Laden. It describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam," including the UN and Western non-governmental organizations that distribute food or other aid in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab controls large parts of central Somalia and enforces Islam most strictly. For example, they recently banned football, BBC broadcasts because they carried the “agenda of the crusaders” and “opposed an Islamic administration” and also bell ringing that signals the end of school classes “because they sound like church bells.”

The transitional government in Mogadishu has been fighting insurgents to retain control of the country. However, that would not necessarily be good news for Christians in the area as President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed, considered a moderate, also believes in the death penalty for those who willingly leave the Islam faith.

The Somali President believes his job is the most difficult in the world. His country has suffered 20 years of civil war and has experienced little progress as he rules little more than a few blocks in Mogadishu. Yet even that is threatened by former allies in Somalia's Islamist movement. His country is considered the world's most failed state, and its continued chaos allows a home for terrorists, including pirates.

Sharif admits he is a strict Islamist but he asks for help from the West:
"Without leaving our Islamic principles, we can have relations with the West. I believe my government can succeed in reducing the gap."
"My dream is to see peaceful, prosperous Somalia where everyone can get his rights, freedom and livelihood without harming others."

"The Pentagon is looking for ways to expand the aid it is already providing the African nations, including additional training, equipment, logistical support and transportation for the troops there."

Names of kidnapped children
For those who wish to include the abducted children in their prayers, they are:
Ali Daud Fataho, 5 years old
Fatuma Safia Fataho, 7 years
Sharif Ahmed Fataho, 10 years
Nur Said Fataho, 15 years

Somali Christian Killed, Four Children Kidnapped
Let Us Pray. Almighty God, we believe 2 Timothy 3:12, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution," as we pray today for four children, Ali Daud (5), Fatuma Safia (7), Sharif Ahmed (10), and Nur Said (15), who were abducted by muslims in Somalia, to be brainwashed and trained as Islamic soldiers, after the muslims murdered their father and took their mother. Lord, protect the minds of these children, so that they would know and remember that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and not Islam. In Jesus Name, Amen.  
prayer adapted from CHAPS

For original article and sources, click here.

Worldwide persecution of Christians, click here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alliance Defense Fund wins another case for freedom of religious expression

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a 2-1 ruling said that the University of Wisconsin at Madison improperly denied funding for a Roman Catholic student group, imposing unconstitutional limits on activities involving worship. They (UW) violated the First Amendment.

ADF had filed suit on behalf of Badger Catholic, formerly known as the Roman Catholic Foundation.  Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence explained:

"A university can define the kind of extracurricular activity that it chooses to promote, reimbursing, say, a student-run series of silent movies and a debate team, while leaving counseling to the student-health service that the university operates itself. But the University of Wisconsin has chosen to pay for student-led counseling, and its decision to exclude counseling that features prayer is forbidden."

Once a university allows any category of student activity to receive support, it can't bar support for that activity just because it may involve worship. Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote:

“The constitutional rights of Christian student organizations should be recognized by university officials just as they recognize those rights for other student groups. The university funded the advocacy and expression of other student organizations but singled out Badger Catholic for exclusion based purely upon its viewpoint. The 7th Circuit rightly regarded this as unconstitutional.”

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State,  acted concerned for the safety of religious freedom in our country and called the decision dangerous:

"Activities like evangelism, prayer, and worship should always be supported with funds given voluntarily. For a long time, this was a central principle of church-state law. In recent years, courts have drifted from this concept, much to the detriment of religious freedom. Whether university-based or not, religious groups should pay their own way. Any other system smacks of a church tax."
However, it is hardly true that dispensing fees to Badger Catholic group imparts an endorsement of religion. The panel said as much in their conclusion:

“The University of Wisconsin is not propagating its own message; it has created a public forum where the students, not the University, decide what is to be said. And having created a public forum, the University must honor the private choice…. (A) university cannot shape Badger Catholic’s message by selectively funding the speech it approves, but not the speech it disapproves. Once it creates a public forum, a university must accept all comers within the forum’s scope.”

Let Us Pray. Almighty God, thank you for the work of The Alliance Defense Fund and for their recent win defending Badger Catholic against the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The UW tried to show unconstitutional discrimination by not giving Badger Catholic funding because they were a religious student group. We thank God that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Constitution and restored their funding. Now we ask for Your continued blessing on those who stand for what is right. From Proverbs 21:21, he who pursues righteousness and love, finds life, prosperity and honor, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Prayer adapted from CHAPS
Badger Catholic v. Walsh, court decision.   Alliance Defense Fund News Release
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
James 1:12, NIV

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