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Religion news in brief

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • May 14, 2014 - 11:15 AM

Video of kidnapped girls authenticated

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian authorities have verified the authenticity of video of kidnapped girls shown wearing Islamic veils and singing Quranic verses under the guns of their captors.

Officials say 54 of the girls had been identified by relatives, teachers and classmates who watched the video late Tuesday.

The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram captured nearly 300 school girls on April 15 from their school in remote northeast Nigeria.

There is a growing international movement to win the freedom of the girls before they are sold into slavery or married off to fighters, or worse.

In Washington, human rights attorney Emmanuel Ogebe (OH'-guh-bay) said Boko Haram continues to try force Christians to convert to Islam. Jews and Muslims considered apostates are also targeted. Ogebe, a panelist on a Hudson Institute forum, said the extremists captured the girls because men have left remote towns with the belief that women and girls would not be harmed.

A teen, Deborah Peters, says her father was killed in 2011 in the same village as the abductions. Peters, now a student in the U.S., says her father, a pastor, was slain because he wouldn't renounce his faith. Her brother was also gunned down as she watched.

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NYPD defends use of Muslim informants despite disbanding surveillance unit

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department is taking a tough stance in a legal battle over its use of informants in the city's Muslim community.

The department announced last month that it was disbanding a unit that tracked the everyday lives of Muslims. But it is fighting a lawsuit that challenges its ongoing practice of cultivating Muslim informants to detect terror threats. The practice incudes debriefing Muslims who are stopped by police.

The lawsuit was filed last year on behalf of two Brooklyn mosques, an imam and three other plaintiffs. It asks a federal judge to declare the surveillance unconstitutional and halt it. The city has struck back by demanding to see any communications by the plaintiffs that mention terrorism, jihad or the war in Afghanistan.

The plaintiffs say the city is unjustly seeking information that's private.

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Muslim advocates amplify 9/11 museum film concerns

NEW YORK (AP) — Muslim advocates and scholars are stepping up pressure on New York City's Sept. 11 museum to edit or at least let more scholars see a documentary movie exhibit about al-Qaida before the museum's opening next Wednesday.

Muslim groups began expressing concerns after members of the museum's interfaith clergy advisory panel raised alarms last month that the movie unfairly links Islam and terrorism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' New York chapter is asking the public to send letters to officials urging the removal of any "anti-Islamic terminology."

About 400 scholars and experts in various fields asked the museum Friday to invite a broad scholarly group to evaluate the brief movie. The National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum has said it stands by the scholarship underlying the movie.

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Massachusetts ex-altar boys claim priest sex abuse

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Two former altar boys at a Massachusetts Roman Catholic church have filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused by a now-deceased priest, while the former bishop of Fall River did nothing to stop it.

The suit was filed in Hartford, Connecticut, in January but is just coming to light. The New Jersey advocacy group Road to Recovery announced to the media that the suit had been filed.

The complaint alleges that former Fall River Bishop Daniel Cronin did not properly supervise the late Monsignor Maurice Souza. According to court documents, Souza is accused of sexually abusing the boys over a period of years, beginning when they were 9 and 10 in the 1970s and continuing until their teens, when Souza was at St. Anthony's Church in Falmouth.

Souza died in 1996. A church spokesman says the lawsuit is "old and is being dealt with by the diocese."

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