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INTERNATIONAL DIGEST: Saudi official kills own daughter for conversion to Christianity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A government official in Saudi Arabia cut out his daughter’s tongue and burned her to death after learning she had become a follower of Jesus Christ. The man, who was not named in the news report, works for the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a government agency that enforces religious purity.

The girl came to know about Jesus Christ through the Internet and when her father learned about her decision, “a heated debate on religion” ensued, according to International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org), a Washington, D.C.-based human rights group. The man is in custody but news reports gave no indication as to his identity or when the crime occurred.

“Saudi Arabia is intolerant of Christianity and non-Muslim faiths,” a press statement from International Christian Concern said. “Its education curriculum openly inculcates hatred against Christians and other non-Muslims through their textbooks and teachers. Saudi Arabian officials are using their huge oil wealth to export Wahabbism (the most intolerant version of Islam) to other countries including in the United States.”

UKRAINE FLOODS SPARK BAPTIST RESPONSE–Baptists in Ukraine mobilized relief this summer after the worst flooding in 100 years dumped two years’ worth of rain during a five-day period, leaving 13 dead and 20,000 homes damaged.

Addressing crop destruction and drinking water contamination were the top priorities as Southern Baptist representatives partnered with Ukrainian Baptists to provide humanitarian relief in the flood zone, according to a report posted on hope4cee.org.

“This unified ministry of mercy by believers in Ukraine is making an impact on the people,” Southern Baptist representative Karen Pearce wrote. “One pastor accepted a victim into his home when he had nowhere else to go. Others are regularly taking food and water to the victims. Members of the church in the village of Budenets have given out 2,500 bottles of ‘Budenetskoy,’ a medicinal mineral water. With over 7,500 flooded wells, this was truly a gift of life.”

Television news reports in Ukraine showed houses cut off by rising water, rescuers moving down flooded streets on inflatable rafts and roads collapsing into rushing rivers, Pearce reported. At least five of the dead were children and two people died when they were struck by lightning.

INDIA HIGH COURT ORDERS MORE TROOPS INTO ORISSA–India’s Supreme Court ordered four federal police battalions deployed to the Kandhamal district of eastern India’s Orissa state to reinforce efforts to protect Christians in violence that has killed more than 20 men, women and children since a Hindu swami was murdered Aug. 22.

Hundreds of homes, churches, schools, convents and orphanages were burned after the murder, which a Maoist rebel group claimed to have carried out. Hindu extremists, however, blamed the killing on Christians, who comprise only about 2.4 percent of Orissa’s population. Thousands of Christians fled into the forests to escape the violence.

The Supreme Court also ordered the Orissa’s government to submit a report on what steps, if any, it has taken to protect the lives of innocent Christians as Hindu extremists continue their attacks, according to news reports.

Churches affiliated with Gospel for Asia held a day of fasting and prayer on Sept. 7 and collected offerings for victims of the violence, according to Simon John, a Gospel for Asia regional leader in India.

“Christians will stand together in this nation, in love and to lift up the people, even if persecution or death comes,” Simon said during an Aug. 29 protest rally in India’s capital city, Delhi. “We will not stop doing good for the people.”

JERUSALEM SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON JIHAD IN EUROPE–Geert Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker whose controversial 15-minute film, “Fitna,” has sparked worldwide Muslim outrage, will appear at a Dec. 14-15 conference in Jerusalem to “plan practical steps in the struggle against the spread of Islam in Europe,” according to Israeli lawmaker Aryeh Eldad.

Wilders will be joined by other European parliamentarians who are members of a new European political coalition that intends to address “the shared belief that Islamic expansion today poses a serious threat to Western civilization,” Eldad said in a news release.

Wilders’ film, which first appeared on the Internet in March, links attacks by Islamic extremists to verses from the Koran, Islam’s holy book, that Wilders claims justify violence against non-Muslims.

Legislators attending the conference, which is titled “Facing Jihad: a Lawmakers’ Summit,” will discuss ways to educate Europeans on the danger of Islamic extremism and better regulate immigration of Muslims to European countries, including a requirement to swear “declarations of loyalty” to the host country, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The time has come to shatter some of the accepted truths on Islam,” Wilders said during a news conference in Jerusalem. “One of them, for example, is that Islam has been taken over by extremists, but its real essence is different.”

An Arab Muslim member of Israel’s parliament, Ahmed Tibi, told the Jerusalem Post the planned conference was “inflammatory” and called the film “racist, anti-Islamic [and] fascist.” Eldad, however, said the Arab-Israeli conflict is a clash between Islam and Western civilization, not a dispute over territory. The creation of a Palestinian state “is the recipe for the destruction of the state of Israel,” he told the Post.
Mark Kelly is an assistant editor with Baptist Press.

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