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from FaithWorld:

Muslims rush to restore torched Egyptian church

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(A Coptic Christian boy looks out of the Saint Mary Church which was set on fire during clashes between Muslims and Christians on Saturday in the heavily populated area of Imbaba in Cairo May 8, 2011/Asmaa Waguih)

Mohammed Fathi worked his brush gently over an icon of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, removing soot from its surface inside a church gutted in an attack by Islamist militants this month. "It takes a lot of careful work to do that," Fathi said. "We have to do a lot of tests with chemicals to try to restore the icon to its original condition."

The 26-year-old is one of a vast group of mostly Muslim craftsmen tasked with restoring St Mary's Church in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba after militants set it on fire on May 7. Egypt's military rulers have ordered its restoration at a time when tensions between Christians, who account for about 10 percent of Egypt's population, and Muslims are on the rise. The ground floor of the four-storey church was gutted in the fire, destroying 10 out of 27 old icons beyond repair.

On Wednesday, a team of mostly Muslim restorers -- working for one of Egypt's biggest construction firms known as The Arab Contractors -- huddled in one corner, using special chemicals, paint and brushes to rescue the remaining paintings.

from FaithWorld:

Judgment Day forecaster points to new doomsday date

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(Harold Camping during an interview at Family Stations Inc. offices in Oakland, California May 16, 2011/Reuters Television )

The evangelical Christian broadcaster whose much-ballyhooed Judgment Day prophecy went conspicuously unfulfilled on Saturday has a simple explanation for what went wrong -- he miscalculated. Instead of the world physically coming to an end on May 21 with a great, cataclysmic earthquake, as he had predicted, Harold Camping, 89, said he now believes his forecast is playing out "spiritually," with the actual apocalypse set to occur five months later, on October 21.

from FaithWorld:

Camping’s Judgment Day a dud, believers baffled

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(Harold Camping, 89, the California evangelical broadcaster who predicted that Judgment Day would come on May 21, 2011, in an interview at his Family Stations Inc. offices in Oakland, California May 16, 2011/Reuters Television)

With no sign of Judgment Day arriving on Saturday as forecast by an 89 year-old California evangelical broadcaster, followers were faced with trying to make sense of his failed pronouncement. Harold Camping, the former civil engineer who heads the Family Radio Network of Christian stations, had been unwavering in his message that believers would be swept to heaven on May 21.

from FaithWorld:

Egyptian Christians to end two-week sit-in protest

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(Coptic Christian women protest after clashes between Christians and Muslims in downtown Cairo May 8, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Egyptian Christians holding a sit-in in downtown Cairo agreed to end nearly two weeks of protests on Friday, state television reported, after authorities promised to meet some of their demands. Witnesses said some of the protestors had begun preparing to go home after one main protest leader, Father Metyas Nasr, an Orthodox priest, agreed to a government offer to free five young men detained on Thursday following clashes outside a church in the eastern Cairo suburb of Ain Shams.

from FaithWorld:

U.S evangelical predicting May 21 doomsday to watch it on TV

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(An American evangelical from the religious group Family Radio displays a doomsday placard on the streets in Manila May 13, 2011/Romeo Ranoco)

The U.S. evangelical Christian broadcaster predicting that Judgment Day will come on Saturday says he expects to stay close to a TV or radio to monitor the unfolding apocalypse. Harold Camping, 89, previously made a failed prediction that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.

from FaithWorld:

Libya war pushes Christian presence to the brink

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(A view of a mosaic on the floor of the ancient Western Church of the Qasr Libya museum complex near Al-Bayda April 25, 2011/Amr Abdallah Dalsh )

The Christian church in eastern Libya, which traces its roots back two millennia to the era of Christ, is fighting for survival because war has forced nearly all its worshippers to flee. But Muslims in Libya's rebel-held east are keen to show that Christians are still welcome, drawing a contrast with the Christian community's turbulent history under Muammar Gaddafi, whose rule in the east was ended by mass protests in February.

from FaithWorld:

Syria’s Christians fear for their religious freedom

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(A Christian woman lights a candle during a mass to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas at Saint Serkis church in Damascus January 6, 2011/Khaled al-Hariri)

Syria's minority Christians are watching the protests sweeping their country with trepidation, fearing their religious freedom could be threatened if President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic but secular rule is overthrown. Sunni Muslims form a majority in Syria, but under four decades of rule by Assad's minority Alawites the country's varied religious groups have enjoyed the right to practice their faith.

from FaithWorld:

Manila shrugging off foreign prophets of May 21 doomsday

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(Detail of Michelangelo's Judgment Day fresco Christ the Judge, and the Virgin at the Vatican's Sistine Chapel)

A U.S.-based Christian group took to the streets of Manila earlier this week to preach that the end of the world is fast approaching -- on May 21 at sunset, to be precise. Volunteers from the religious group Family Radio, a Christian radio network in the United States, donned neon-coloured t-shirts and walked along Manila's main thoroughfares, handing out pamphlets to passerby with warnings of impending Judgement Day.

from FaithWorld:

17 Chinese churches petition parliament for religious freedom

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(Chinese police usher people onto a bus at the site of a planned outdoor service by the Shouwang Church at the Zhongguancun commercial district in Beijing in this still image from April 10, 2011 video/Reuters TV)

Seventeen churches in China have appealed to China's lawmakers to provide legal protection of religious freedom after police detained dozens of Christians from a Beijing church that has been trying to hold outdoor services. The petition, delivered on Wednesday by hand to the National People's Congress -- China's rubber-stamp parliament -- was the first of its kind and the boldest statement by the nation's "house churches" to the central government.

from FaithWorld:

Violent Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram rejects amnesty offer

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(Members of an local Islamic group lie on the ground at a police station after their arrest in the northeastern city of Bauchi, July 25, 2009/Ardo Hazzad)

A radical Islamist sect in remote northeastern Nigeria, blamed for almost daily killings and attacks, has rejected an offer of an amnesty. Kashim Shettima, governor-elect of Borno state, made the amnesty offer to the Boko Haram sect shortly after winning April elections to try to end months of attacks on symbols of authority including politicians and police officers.

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