Dispatches > News


"Honored" Continued...

Issue: "Biblical callings," Dec. 4, 2010

Rental agreement

The Islamic Saudi Academy near Washington, D.C., has gained a new one-year lease from Fairfax County even while its academic accreditation is in question. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reported unsatisfactory results in five of seven core standards, and the private school has been a subject of controversy because its textbooks, which the Saudi government provides, in the past advocated killing non-Muslims and those who leave Islam. School valedictorian of the class of 1999, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was sentenced to life in prison for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush. SACS plans to visit the school in spring 2011, when its concerns must be addressed for the school to continue to be accredited-and the county to continue pulling $2.6 million a year in rent for the property.

Disaster and delivery

Grassroots groups launched heroic efforts to aid victims of an Oct. 25 tsunami that devastated the remote Mentawai Islands of Indonesia. The UK-based Barnabas Fund said church groups on nearby West Sumatra loaded boats with supplies to make the treacherous, 90-mile sea crossing to the predominantly Christian islands. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake triggered the tsunami, killing more than 400 residents and leaving some 18,000 villagers homeless. Government aid arrived nearly a week after the tsunami struck, leaving early relief efforts to Christian groups and other aid agencies. Relief work was already taxed before the tsunami: The ongoing erupting volcano at Indonesia's Mount Merapi has displaced nearly 400,000 evacuees from their homes.

Cost of peace

How generous is the next Congress? That could determine the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Nov. 15 he would support a freeze on housing construction, a major source of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, but it's contingent on, among other things, President Barack Obama asking for, and Congress approving, the sale to Israel of 20 next-generation Stealth fighters. If it goes through, Israel could halt all building in the West Bank and coordinate plans for East Jerusalem construction with the United States for a period of three months.


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