Church

Muslim Cleric Given a Suspended Sentenced for Burning Bible

In the Huffington Post:

Ahmed Abdullah Bible Burning

A hard-line Muslim cleric received an 11-year suspended sentence Sunday for tearing up and burning a Bible, Egypt’s official news agency said.

Cairo’s Nasr City court sentenced Ahmed Abdullah and his son was given a suspended sentence of eight years over the same incident, the Middle East News Agency reported. The two were ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($700). The ruling can be appealed.

Abdullah ripped up a Bible and burned it during a Sept. 11 rally by ultraconservative Salafi Muslims in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, protesting an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

It was a rare prosecution over attacks on faiths other than Islam. Over the past two years, attacks by extremist Muslims against followers of other religions, mostly Christians, have been on the increase.

According to Egyptian law, showing contempt toward Christianity, Islam and Judaism known as “heavenly” religions is a crime. Lawyers and rights groups complain the definition of contempt of religion is vague and has been used most often against critics of Islam.

Blasphemy charges were not uncommon in Egypt under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, but there has been a surge in such cases in recent months. The trend is widely seen as a reflection of the growing power and confidence of Islamists, after election victories by the Muslim Brotherhood and strong showings by the Salafis, who practice a form of the religion as they believe it existed around the seventh century.

Writers, activists and a television comedian have recently been charged with blasphemy, but Christians seem to be the favorite target of Islamist prosecutors. Abdullah’s case brought a rare sentence against a Muslim cleric.

In one of the most recent cases, a Coptic teacher was sentenced to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($14,000) for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad while teaching.

Abdullah, also known as Abu Islam, has become known for hate speech against Coptic Christians in his preaching. Last year, he launched new Islamic TV channel that is run primarily by women covered from head to toe with only their eyes showing. He is a frequent guest on other TV channels.

 

Church

Man Shot in the Head at Mass

In the Huffington Post:

A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of walking into a Catholic church and shooting his father-in-law in the back of the head during Mass.

Charles Richard Jennings Jr., 35, was captured Sunday afternoon in nearby Box Elder County after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck, investigators said.

Witnesses say they heard one gunshot during the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday at Saint James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden, and that parishioners immediately hit the floor.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition. His name wasn’t immediately released.

Police said the victim was deliberately targeted by the gunman and it wasn’t a random act of violence.

“We don’t know the motive,” Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a domestic violence-related incident.”

Parishioner Rebecca Ory Hernandez said the congregation was told by a priest that the suspect and his wife had been involved in domestic disputes.

Hernandez was sitting close to the victim when the shooting occurred, she said.

“The guy walked up to his father-in-law and shot him point blank in the head,” Hernandez told Ogden’s Standard-Examiner. “Then I ran over to the victim and pulled my scarf off and put it around his head.

“He was pretty calm. There was so much blood … People were in shock and some people were passing out. We have some military guys in our parish and they ran out after the guy,” she added.

Parishioner Leon Bedford said the victim was sitting in a back pew with his wife when their daughter and son-in-law walked in holding hands as the congregation started saying a prayer.

“Oh, it’s obvious it was well planned out,” Bedford told the Standard-Examiner. “They came into the church hand in hand, and he walked right up to (the victim) and pulled that trigger. We just hope and pray that he makes it.”

Jennings is accused of stealing the truck at gunpoint from a nearby resident after fleeing the church. He was booked on charges of attempted aggravated criminal homicide and aggravated robbery.

Further details about the shooting will not be released until a news conference Monday morning at McKay-Dee Hospital, officials said.

A family spokesperson and a police representative will be on hand to discuss the case and status of the victim, hospital spokesman Chris Dallin said.

 

Church

Tradition: The Ship of Salvation’s Sail not its Anchor

Writes Fr Ted:

St. Paul’s Epistles represent an interpretation of the Scriptures of Israel.  St. Paul is steeped in the Jewish Scriptures, and the Tradition which interprets those Scriptures.   It is the interpretation of the Torah which causes such tremendous conflict between Jesus and the rabbis of the Pharisaic Tradition.   Paul follows Jesus in interpreting the Scriptures of Israel and does so by claiming that he and Jesus are in fact the faithful interpreters of the Tradition.  It is Jesus who is the fulfillment of the God-inspired Tradition; thus Christianity is faithful to Tradition and the correct interpreter of this tradition.   Tradition, like Scripture, is not  made holy by being carved into stone, but rather by being interpreted within a community, by being the heart of the community’s relationship to God and the world.  Tradition is thus alive and constantly relating to the world, not written in stone and frozen in some past understanding.  For St. Paul Tradition is dynamic, creative, vivifying and renewing and keeps people focused on the goal – where God is leading us to, not the past and where we were.   Tradition is not the ship’s anchor, but its sail.   It consists not of repeating past teachings, but of interpreting God’s Word for the current generation…

Rest here.