Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Two Hours After Benghazi Attack, White House Knew Terrorist Group Took Credit
- Pastor and Family Executed in Syria as Violence Continues
- Fatal Shooting Reported at Creflo Dollar's Georgia Megachurch
- Taliban Targets Another Girl in Pakistan
Two Hours After Benghazi Attack, White House Knew Terrorist Group Took Credit
According to emails obtained by Reuters from government sources, officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit. An email identifying the Libyan group Ansar al-Sharia asserting responsibility for the attack -- which killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and four others -- was sent to addresses including the White House Situation Room, where the president was, no more than 2.5 hours after the attack. In the days following, however, White House spokesman Jay Carney maintained the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film, and while officials did mention the possible involvement of "extremists," they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda until intelligence officials publicly alleged so on Sept. 28. According to Townhall.com blogger Carol Platt Liebau, "Granted, as the [Reuters] story is careful to note, not all intelligence accounts can be immediately credited as automatically accurate in these situations. But what is so shocking about the email Reuters has obtained is that it means that the administration's repeated characterizations of the attack as 'spontaneous' demonstrations in response to a YouTube video -- for two full weeks thereafter -- were knowingly, hideously false, misleading and incomplete." Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests by Reuters for comments on the emails.
Pastor and Family Executed in Syria as Violence Continues
More than 30,000 have died in Syria's civil war, with innocent Christians continuing to become victims at the hand of radicals, Mission Network News reports. According to the Middle East director of Christian Aid Mission, bands of militant Islamists are responsible: "They're not necessarily Syrians, but they're very radical Muslims, and their goal is to eradicate Christians. They believe it's an abomination to have Christians within Syria." The director, who cannot reveal his identity for security reasons, cited a Christian Aid-supported pastor who was a recent victim. "There was a band of militia that came through and told all of the people to get out; then they went ahead and killed the pastor and his family. So there [are] quite a few now -- I think there are 11 [Christians] -- who have been killed in that one area from that ministry that we help." The director added: "All of the typical security that you would have in the country is trying to protect the country. They're not worried about providing police protection for the little communities around, and so the people are all vulnerable." Syrians continue to flee into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey; it is estimated that more than 300,000 have now fled their homeland.
Fatal Shooting Reported at Creflo Dollar's Georgia Megachurch
A gunman reportedly killed another male Wednesday morning inside Creflo Dollar's World Changers Church International in Georgia, and the shooter is still on the loose, the Christian Post reports. The shooting occurred during a 10 a.m. Bible study at the College Park campus in unincorporated Fulton County. The gunman, reportedly a staff member at the church, walked into the service wearing a suit and tie and shot the Bible study leader at point-blank range while he was leading prayer. Initial reports said the victim was transported to a local hospital, but subsequent reports indicate he has died. No official statement has been yet released by the church in response to the shooting. Dollar, who was recently arrested for allegedly physically assaulting one of his daughters, founded World Changers International Church in 1981. The church currently has about 30,000 members.
Taliban Targets Another Girl in Pakistan
The Taliban is targeting a second young girl in Pakistan known for her women's-rights activism and pro-education stance, CBN News reports. Hina Khan, 16, returned home from school this week to find a red "X" painted on the gate of her family's home, then her mother received a phone call warning her that her daughter was the Taliban's next target. Just two weeks ago, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, a blogger and activist who spoke out for women's education, was shot on a school bus on her way home from school. She survived the attack and is recovering in a hospital in Britain, but the Taliban has threatened to finish their job and kill her. Both Khan and Yousafzai are originally from Pakistan's Swat Valley, an area that was under complete Taliban control for years. Locals say terrorist cells are reactivating their network in the valley, taking advantage of the U.S. military's decision to withdraw forces.
Publication date: October 25, 2012