Secession puts northern Christians on alert
SUDAN Southern Sudan's nearly unanimous vote for secession may benefit the mostly Christian South but could create difficulties for Christians left in the mostly Muslim North. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said Shari'ah law will be strictly enforced in the North if Sudan splits into two countries. Coptic Christians are not concerned because as fellow Arabs they have been treated better than the South's Africans. But one Anglican congregation in Khartoum dwindled to one-quarter its usual size during the January week southern Sudanese voted on independence.
Governor killed for defending Christian
PAKISTAN An influential governor and human rights advocate who stood up for a Christian condemned for blasphemy was shot more than 25 times by one of his security guards. Punjab governor Salman Taseer had declared support for Aasia Bibi, the first Christian woman sentenced to be executed under a Pakistani law that mandates the death penalty for blaspheming Islam. Human rights observers had hoped Bibi's plight would prompt long-sought revision of the law. Instead, popular support for Taseer's assassination (tens of thousands demonstrated to demand the killer's freedom) makes revision unlikely.
Courts fell more memorial crosses
After a legal battle lasting more than two decades, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a war memorial cross in California is unconstitutional. The 43-foot cross, erected in 1913 on Mount Soledad, "sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion," said Judge M. Margaret McKeown. Meanwhile, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Utah Highway Patrol Association cannot place crosses along the highway to memorialize fallen troopers. The crosses imply ...1