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Vigil at Capitol set for mosque victims

Pray for Peace, a vigil to honor the victims of last week's shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol at 500 Woodlane St. in Little Rock.

The vigil was coordinated by the Islamic Center of Little Rock and Little Rock's Madina Institute, along with other area faith leaders, according to Ebrahim Abunasrah, former president of the Islamic Center. The center and the institute have tightened security in the days following the death of 50 people and injury of dozens more after a gunman opened fire at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center, both in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15.

"It's to honor the victims of the mosque shootings, but also to honor any victim that lost their life unjustly," Abunasrah said.

The Madina Institute, an Islamic house of worship and instruction, thanked congregations from around Little Rock in an email on Thursday for their "outpouring of love and support for Muslims."

-- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Baptists to close all LifeWay stores

LifeWay Christian Bookstores, the publishing branch of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced on Wednesday that it will close all of its 170 stores by the end of the year.

A news release on the LifeWay website described the move as part of the company's strategy to shift its resources to a "dynamic digital strategy," and cited a decline in customer traffic and sales to the decision. Arkansas has LifeWay stores in Rogers, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fort Smith and Jonesboro.

"The decision to close our local stores is a difficult one," said acting president and Chief Executive Officer Brad Waggoner. "LifeWay has developed close connections with the communities where our stores are located, and we have been honored to serve those communities. We will continue serving local congregations as they meet the spiritual needs of their neighbors."

-- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge: Indians can grow hair in prison

BEEVILLE, Texas -- Three male American Indian inmates in Texas will be allowed to grow their hair long as an expression of their religious beliefs after winning a lawsuit against the state prison system.

The Houston Chronicle reports that a federal judge's ruling last month only affects the three inmates at the McConnell Unit near Beeville, but their arguments could apply to future lawsuits involving any of the more than 5,000 American Indian prisoners in the state.

The inmates' lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice argued that American Indian spiritual beliefs regard hair as an extension of the soul.

Attorneys for the state argued that allowing male prisoners to have long hair hinders inmate identification and could present a suicide risk.

The state is considering an appeal.

-- The Associated Press

Religion on 03/23/2019

Print Headline: Religion News Briefs

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