EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
Compass Direct News
World News Service
Pakistani Muslims Fire on Christians in Land-Grab, Killing One
Heavily-armed assailants fire indiscriminately, injuring 21 others, six critically.
By Murad Khan
LAHORE, Pakistan (Compass Direct News)–Muslims in Pakistan’s Mian Channu area in southern Punjab Province shot dead an unarmed Christian man and injured 21 others, six of them critically, in an attempted land-grab on Wednesday (Oct. 5).
Residents of the area told Compass by phone that 40 to 45 heavily-armed Muslims on 10 to 12 motorcycles, two tractor-trolleys and in a car reached Chak 134-16/L village, in Khanewal district, and forcibly entered the home of Adeel Kashif, a Christian carpenter who was living on a government-owned piece of land.
“The attackers forced their way into Kashif’s house and started throwing the family’s belongings onto the street,” Wazir Masih, a Christian elder in the area, told Compass. “They also tore the clothes off Kashif’s three female family members – Violet, 40, Parveen, 35, and Esther, 17, and tortured the family.”
Masih said the assailants wanted to take illegal possession of the 18-marla piece of land (in Pakistan, one marla equals 30.25 square yards).
“Since pre-partition days, a piece of government land is given to Kammis [laborers or craftsmen] for residence, and in return they help the villagers in whatever way they can,” Masih said. “This allotment is made with the complete consensus of the villagers.”
Before Kashif, a Muslim carpenter named Muhammad Iqbal was allowed to live on the property, he said.
“Iqbal lived there for over 10 years and moved out about two months ago,” Masih said. “However, before leaving he prepared fake papers of the land in connivance with the Patwari [local revenue officer] and a local Muslim group and ‘sold’ it to them for 130,000 rupees [US$1,480],” Masih said, adding that the entire process was fraudulent because no one can sell the government’s land in a personal capacity.
He said that on Wednesday (Oct. 5), armed Muslims led by men of the area’s powerful Jagrane family arrived at the house and tried to force the Christians out.
“Kashif’s neighbors and some other villagers came out of their homes on hearing the commotion,” Masih said. “The village comprises about 250 Christian families, and some 90 to 100 people gathered there and tried to persuade the Muslims not to dislodge the Christian carpenter illegally. None of the Christians present there was carrying any weapon, as no one was expecting such a harsh action by the Muslims.”
Masih said the Muslims suddenly opened indiscriminate fire on the Christians, instantly killing 25-year-old Sajid Bashir Masih and seriously injuring 21 others, including women and children. He added that six of the injured were in critical condition, one of them Sajid Bashir Masih’s younger brother, Haroon.
“The Christians had done nothing to provoke the Muslims into employing such brute force,” Wazir Masih said. “They just opened fire on the defenseless people with their automatic rifles and shotguns.”
Masih said that as soon as Sajid Bashir Masih succumbed to his injuries, some of the assailants fled the scene while others took refuge inside Kashif’s house and started shooting at the villagers. He said the villagers immediately informed police, who arrived soon from a nearby station.
Police besieged the house and eventually managed to arrest 16 armed assailants, but the primary suspects remain free.
A First Information Report was registered against the attackers in Mian Channu’s Saddar Police Station by the deceased’s father, Bashir Masih, early yesterday (FIR No. 432 under sections 302, 324, 448, 511, 452, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code).
Some of the injured Christians have been transferred to the District Headquarters Hospital, while those with serious bullet wounds have been admitted to the Nishtar Hospital in Multan.
A.D. Sahil, a Christian schoolteacher of the area, told Compass that the Christians suspected police complicity in the incident.
“The police station is just a couple of kilometers away, yet such a large group of heavily-armed Muslims managed to reach our village in broad daylight,” he said, adding that there was tension between the two communities since the killing, and police have been deployed in the village. “The district police chief and the district’s administrative head reached the village soon after the incident and held negotiations with us.”
He added that, in view of the history of bitter inter-religious relations in the area, government officials have given assurances of protection to local Christians. The village is near Shantinagar, a Christian village attacked by thousands of Islamist extremists on Feb. 6, 1997.
The Muslims burned down 785 houses and four churches, and more than 2,500 Christians had to flee following allegations that a Christian villager had blasphemed against the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.
Christians make up only 2.45 percent of Pakistan’s population, which is more than 95 percent Muslim, according to Operation World.
NAIA names Campbellsville University a Champion of Character Five Star Institution
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)–Campbellsville University has once again been named as an NAIA Five Star Champions of Character Institution, the national office announced Wednesday, Oct. 5. Campbellsville is listed as one of the Top 50 highest scores in the NAIA on the Championship of Character Scorecard. CU saw a six-point increase in 2010-2011 from the previous year, receiving a score of 80. It is the second-highest score in the commonwealth of Kentucky and first among Mid-South Conference charter institutions.
“We are pleased to be named a Champions of Character Five Star institution by the NAIA again this year. The NAIA has increased the requirements for institutions to be recognized as a Champions of Character Institution in recent years, and our coaches and student-athletes continue to their commitment to this program,” said Rusty Hollingsworth, CU athletics director. “I am excited about the future of our character initiatives at Campbellsville University and those which have been put in place by the Mid-South Conference.”
The award is given annually to institutions scoring 60 or more total points on the NAIA Champions of Character Scorecard., which gives points for character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. Institutions also earned points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by obtaining zero ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.
With Campbellsville leading the way among MSC charter members, the Mid-South Conference was led by first-year member Shawnee State University in 2010-2011 with a score of 94 – the third-highest score across the nation. The conference had eight full-time members with 60 or more points on the Champions of Character Scorecard: Shawnee State (94), Campbellsville (80), Lindsey Wilson College (79), University of the Cumberlands (76), St. Catharine College (72), University of Pikeville (70), University of Rio Grande (69) and University of Virginia’s College at Wise (69).
More than 80 percent of the NAIA institutions scored at least 60 points on the Champions of Character Scorecard. All 23 athletic conferences achieved Five Star status. The NAIA’s scorecard was created to provide institutions with a checklist of measurable goals on their commitment and utilization of the five core character values — respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship — the association embraces.
“In today’s complex college athletic environments – where success is sometimes only measured by wins and losses – strengthening effective athletic departments and leadership is key to advancing character-driven intercollegiate athletics,” said Kristin Gillette, NAIA Director of Champions of Character. “The Scorecard supports and recognizes member institutions and conferences using sport as a vehicle to teach life lessons. No doubt this is a point of differentiation in college athletics and making a huge impact on our 60,000 student-athletes.”
Five Star Award recipients will be recognized on the NAIA Champions of Character website, and receive a special web banner and certificate noting the honor. Presidents, athletics directors and conference commissioners at award winning colleges, universities or conferences also will be recognized at the 71st Annual NAIA National Convention in April.
New production company gives Christian college students a chance to launch film-making careers
By Evelyn Iversen
PURCELLVILLE, Va. (World News Service)–The office looks like it came straight out of the 1940s. A large desk holds scattered papers and a typewriter; behind the desk is a large leather chair; and period photographs adorn the office walls. Men in suspenders and shiny black shoes sport side-parted hair slicked back neatly under fedoras.
But the scene also includes a crowd of college-age people in tennis shoes and jeans with clothespins dangling from their t-shirts. They’re all packed into a small corner room full of lights, cameras, and last minute action.
As crew members dash around hunting for missing equipment, apply powder to shiny foreheads, and adjust lights, director Peter Forbes coaches the actors. Forbes and the crew, most of them students or graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., are all part of Virginia-based Advent Associates, a spin-off group from Christian film production company Advent Film Group (AFG) that is giving college students their first break into the world of film. If all goes well, it could be the first of a series of projects launching Christian college students into movie-making careers.
The movie, titled Writer’s Block, is now in its second week of filming in Purcellville. AFG has made or been involved in several films aimed primarily at Christian audiences, notably Come What May, Hero, and the upcoming feature Alone Yet Not Alone with Mission City Productions.
Over the years Advent has trained dozens of college students, according to Advent co-founder George Escobar. The idea behind Advent Associates is to give students the opportunity to make a good quality movie more or less on their own for an initial investment of $20,000. That’s just enough to cover some basic props, equipment, and hire a few professional actors. Hopefully Writer’s Block earns back this initial investment and then another $20,000 to finance the next project, and so on.
Forbes graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2009. He began working with Advent Film Group his junior year at PHC, served as the director’s assistant for the AFG film Hero, and just finished the novelization of AFG’s premiere film Come What May.
“Someday it would be nice to make money from this,” said Forbes. “You know, to pay for student loans.” Forbes said that he hopes Writer’s Block will be reminiscent of movies like Casablanca, and while preserving the feel of an older movie they hope they can introduce modern equipment, layered lighting, and new technology to bring classic styles into the present day.
“With movies, your options are cheap, fast, and good. Usually you can only have two out of three associated with a film. We’ve got the cheap and fast, and we’re getting close to really good.” Forbes said.
The cast of Writers Block features several professional actors who have appeared in The Notebook and Frost/Nixon, and TV shows like Army Wives. Other cast members include Sandra Van Natta, Jim McKeny, Jenn Gotzon, Rich Swingle, Gary Bosek, and Curt Louder.
The screenplay was written in two months by Elizabeth Stinnette, a freshman at PHC, while she was working with Advent Film Group over the summer. “Elizabeth did a great job with the screenplay. We’re very happy,” Escobar said.
Visiting the set with her mother, Stinnette was impressed with how well it was coming together. “The set looks almost exactly like it did in my head,” Stinnette said.
In Writer’s Block, Chip Leninskovich, played by actor Jason Burkey, must work with Stewart “Stu” Harvey, played by Jeff Rose, to write a feature-length script in 17 hours. Both of them professional actors, Burkey and Rose have an easy banter between them that lends itself well to their characters’ on-screen interactions.
“For me it’s harder to not make movies,” said Rose. “Producing is the bigger headache though.”
“It’s always a great time working with new people and putting together a new film,” said Burkey, who also appears in the upcoming films For the Glory and October Baby. “This is like filmmaking boot camp.”
Obstacles to filming include the low budget of $20,000, a two-week schedule to finish filming, finding lead actors, a very cramped set, and making re-writes to the script minutes before the cameras start rolling.
“We didn’t have a location two weeks before we were scheduled to start shooting,” Forbes said. “Our lead wasn’t even confirmed until a week before we started filming.”
Some changes to the script were just to tighten and condense portions of the plot, and the ending was rewritten to give it a stronger finish even though filming had begun. The changes to the script happened when a plot hole was discovered. Sometimes they were rewriting scenes as they were about to be filmed.
“It felt like [the movie] Inception,” said Forbes. “The story is about two writers trying to finish writing a story, and meanwhile we are out here doing the same thing.”
Space is really tight; a hallway that leads to the dressing room will be dressed as a set for a few scenes. Getting off schedule can cause tension to rise, but perhaps the obstacle that affects the most members of the cast and crew is the long hours on set each day.
“If you’re willing to work these kinds of hours without pay it’s probably because you love it,” said Abby Raetz, an art assistant.
“After 18 hour days together, we get crazy,” said Ian Reid, a senior at PHC. Reid is the Director of Photography, and has worked on several feature films.
“The business of film has changed, and so the mission of training, mentoring, and serving is more important than ever,” said Escobar. “We want young Christian people interested in film to know that there is a path vocationally, and you don’t have to sacrifice morals for a good end product.”