Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Police: Muslim Cleric Framed Girl in Pakistan Blasphemy Case
- Christian Group Denied Chance to Welcome DNC Delegates
- Record Number of Refugees Flee Syria in August
- Refugee Surge in Jordan Overwhelms Christians
Police: Muslim Cleric Framed Girl in Pakistan Blasphemy Case
Pakistani police say a Muslim cleric planted evidence to link a Christian girl to blasphemy -- a new twist in a case that has attracted worldwide attention in recent days and re-ignited national debate about the controversial blasphemy law, CNN reports. The imam, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, will himself face blasphemy charges for tearing pages out of a Quran to use as evidence against the girl, said Islamabad police chief Bin Yamin. This latest development may make it easier for 14-year-old Rimsha Masih -- who was arrested last month after a neighbor accused her of burning pages containing texts from the Quran -- to be released on bail at her next court hearing. Police arrested Chishti Saturday after three witnesses told a judge about his actions, and he was sent to jail for 14 days. He has denied the allegations.
Christian Group Denied Chance to Welcome DNC Delegates
The Democratic National Convention denied a Charlotte-based Christian group the chance to welcome delegates to the city, CBN News reports. Churches partnering with Charlotte 714 in a prayer effort also wanted to send welcome baskets with basic information about their churches and the city, but the DNC denied the evangelical group permission because of its pro-life stance. "The mayor's office texted me and said, 'We regret to inform but we ask that you not send those letters and not engage in 'Adopt a Delegation' because your views on women are contrary to the convention,'" said David Benham of Charlotte 714. One DNC delegate, Fernando Cabrera, said he thought the DNC was wrong because it sanctioned an Islamic event just last week. "If you open the door for one group, you have to open it up for others, otherwise you're playing favorites," he said.
Record Number of Refugees Flee Syria in August
Roughly 100,000 people fled Syria during the month of August, according to the United Nations, the highest monthly number of refugees since the conflict began, CBN News reports. U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said more than 230,000 Syrians had now become refugees. "If you do the math, it's quite an astonishing number," she said. "And it points to a significant escalation in refugee movement and people seeking asylum, and probably points to a very precarious and violent situation inside the country." Syria's violence is getting worse as rebels continue to fight for control of the city of Aleppo. Reports show August was the bloodiest month so far, with nearly 5,000 people killed.
Refugee Surge in Jordan Overwhelms Christians
Jordanian native missionary leaders say they are being overwhelmed by a new surge of terrified Syrian refugees, Christian Aid Mission reports. "They are coming under the fences every night, 2,500 to 3,000 at a time since the border with Turkey closed," said an indigenous leader of one of the main mission groups who has been working to help the refugees find food and shelter. "There are already 180,000 refugees here from Syria and they are growing every day -- this is a very, very intense time for us." Most of the refugees are women and children, who fled Syria after family members were killed. "We lost it all in Syria," said one woman. "I worry for my family that didn't make it out." Another woman said just crossing the border can be deadly: "We waited until nightfall, climbed through a barbed-wire fence under heavy gunfire with our husbands and kids. Our husbands didn't make it across." Like all the other frontline states, Jordan has officially closed its borders to Syrian refugees and is trying to resist pressure by Sunni jihadists from nearby Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Islamists want to divide up Syrian territory under various militias in order to help bring down the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite Muslim who is accused of many atrocities but who has protected the Christian minority. Christian Aid, which has supported indigenous missions in Syria and the Middle East for decades, has set up a special fund to aid Syrian Christians during this time of crisis; more information is available at ChristianAid.org.
Publication date: September 5, 2012