World News Briefs February 2007
Conservative Anglicans Plan Conference
Conservative Anglicans plan to gather in Jerusalem in June to test their strength as the growing majority among Anglicans. This Global Anglican Future Conference 2008 is a response to the fallout over the Episcopal Church’s (TEC) support for gay, lesbian, bi- and trans-sexual clergy and couples, and its re-interpretation of core scriptural teachings. This event will also test the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury's ability to provide guidance for a deeply divided church.
Licensed Newspaper Disputes “Allah”
After legal challenges the government of Muslim-majority Malaysia renewed a Catholic newspaper's license to publish, despite its use of the word "Allah" to denote God. The paper was warned its license would be revoked if it didn't stop using the reference. In the Malay language “Allah” means God. At least one ministry official felt the paper was used to confuse Muslims. More than 60 percent of Malaysia's population are Muslim Malays. Their constitution guarantees religious freedom, but Islam is the official religion. Furthermore, it states all Malays are Muslim—a stipulation critics say, makes it difficult for a Malay to convert to another faith.
(Source: CNSNews.com, ChristianToday.com)
Christians Under Siege
Recent violence against Christians in India raised fears the election victory of a Hindu hardliner in India's most-developed state may be prompting activists to turn on non-Hindu minorities. A curfew was imposed in a remote part of eastern Orissa state after clashes over the Christmas holiday left at least one and possibly three people dead. More than 12 churches and numerous Christian homes were ransacked or torched, state officials and Christian groups reported. India is predominantly Hindu, although the affected district has more than 100,000 Christians in 650,000 people. Christian and Hindu organizations blamed each other for sparking the latest violence.
Islamic Religious Leaders Accept Offer to Meet with Pope
More than 138 prominent Islamic religious leaders, championing improved relations between Muslims and Christians, accepted an invitation by Pope Benedict XVI for a meeting in February or March. Muslim leaders were "encouraged" to make their proposal following the historic meeting in November between the pontiff and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Stressing, Muslims and Christians make up more than half the world's population, it identified their relations as "the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world." Benedict had upset many Muslims when, in a September 2006 speech in Regensburg, Germany, he associated Islam with violence. He has since worked to heal relations.
Brazilian Adventists Gain Recognition with Nationwide Program
A nationwide Christmas celebration drew excitement from volunteers and celebrities during "Christmas Mutirão—Sharing Hope." The event highlighted a record 3,200 tons of food collected for the needy—30 percent more than last year. "Mutirão" is a Brazilian/Portuguese expression used to describe collective service projects. Geraldo Alkmin, former governor of São Paulo and current presidential candidate said, "the initiative of Seventh-day Adventists is an example of leadership responding to poverty in Brazil." Television actor and comedian, Helga Nemeczk, was also present. During a tearful testimony, Nemeczk acknowledged her own Adventist heritage said she was proud of "her" church for taking a stand for the poor.
(Source: Adventist News Network)University chaplain
Adventist Woman Receives Queen’s Recognition
An Adventist woman receives the Queen of England's recognition for community service. London, England, member, Joan Saddler, was recognized for her promotion of volunteer service, equality and diversity in health care, and work with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Saddler received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II, during a December ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
(Source: Trans-European Division news)
Adventists Faced With Violence
At least one Adventist is among hundreds killed in violent presidential election disputes in Kenya. Meanwhile, classes have resumed at the Adventist-owned University of Eastern Africa, Baraton campus. During the violence over 250 students, teachers and staff were evacuated by police after a mob surrounded the school. Caesar Wamalika told reporters, "We have been having daily threats from the crowds of people outside the campus. All of them are armed with machetes, bows and arrows... I have never seen anything like this." Kenya is home to 34 million people and more than half a million Adventists. For the latest on this story visit: www.adventistreview.org.
(Source: Adventist Review)