Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Nov 05, 2014 1:41 PM
Religion news in brief

Pakistan police: Muslim mob kills Christian couple

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Police in Pakistan say a Muslim mob has beaten a Christian couple to death and burned their bodies in a brick kiln for allegedly desecrating the Quran.

Other sources say the young Christians were thrown alive into the kiln where they burned to death.

Tuesday's slaying is the latest targeting minorities in Pakistan who allegedly commit blasphemy.

Local police officer Mohammed Pervez says Tuesday's attack happened in eastern Punjab province. Pervez says officers are trying to arrest those involved.

Under Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death. However, the laws are often misused to settle personal scores and target minorities.


No one hurt when gunshots hit California mosque

COACHELLA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in California say gunfire struck a mosque in the desert city of Coachella before dawn Tuesday.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says several shots struck the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley building and a vehicle. The building was occupied at the time, but nobody was injured. The Sheriff's department says the shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for an FBI investigation.

Last month in New Mexico, someone hurled a Molotov cocktail at the wall of an unoccupied Albuquerque mosque. No one was hurt, and no suspects were identified. Community members held a peace walk a few days later to support the mosque.


Court declines to take up Episcopal Church dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away appeals from the Episcopal Church in a dispute over church property claimed by a breakaway diocese in Texas.

The justices on Monday let stand two Texas Supreme Court rulings in favor of the Fort Worth Episcopal diocese, which has held on to 52 church properties worth more than $100 million since breaking away in 2008.

The diocese opposes the consecration of gay bishops, ordination of women and other policies its leadership considers unbiblical.

A lower court had ruled in favor of the national church. But a divided Texas Supreme Court reversed that ruling, saying the rift should be resolved on neutral principles of law that apply to nonreligious disputes. It sent the case back to the lower court for further review.


Church sues Garden City over zoning dispute

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas church has sued Garden City over an order prohibiting worship at the church's property in the central business district.

Mount Zion Church of God in Christ alleges in a federal lawsuit that the city has threatened to prosecute it in municipal court for violating a zoning ordinance. The city has said in a letter that it also could seek an injunction to enforce its zoning regulations.

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At issue is a Main Street building that has allegedly been used as a church for more than 10 years.

The church's lawsuit contends that the city is violating its First Amendment rights and seeks a ruling finding the zoning restriction unconstitutional.

Assistant City Attorney Jacob Cunningham declined comment on the lawsuit.


Beer, wine flow in West Bank Christian hamlet

TAYBEH, West Bank (AP) — A tiny Christian enclave in the overwhelmingly Muslim West Bank has for years crafted the only Palestinian beer and brought thousands of visitors flocking to its annual beer fest.

Now, it is adding wine to its list of libations, hoping a boutique winery will be another tourist draw and contribute to keeping the village of Taybeh (ty-BAY') afloat.

While Christians around the Middle East have seen their numbers dwindle due to conflict and the lure of better economic opportunities abroad, Taybeh has remained an exclusively Christian village, the last in the West Bank.

The family members behind the wine and beer say they are carrying out "peaceful resistance" by investing in their homeland and staying put.

The West Bank's Muslims often shun alcohol for religious reason, but Taybeh's annual Oktoberfest has become one of the region's must-see events. The two-day festival has drawn some 16,000 people.