Globe Trot

Globe Trot 07.13


Would you attend church this Sunday if you knew there would be an attack? That's the provocative subject line of an email from Open Doors this week, an advocacy group for persecuted Christians that is trying to raise $77,000 for Christians in Nigeria. Here are a few other groups doing good work to help Christians in Nigeria: Jubilee Campaign, Voice of the Martyrs, Barnabas Fund, and International Christian Concern.

In the latest church attack in Nigeria, this one in central Plateau State, gunmen entered a pastor's home and church building where Christians were hiding (this time, on a Saturday, July 7) and opened fire, then they burned the house-killing 50, including the wife of the church pastor and children. Weekend attacks in 12 nearby villages killed 100 Church of Christ members. Does this sound like socio-economic driven violence? That's what Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and State Department officials claimed during hearings on Nigeria before the House Foreign Relations Committee: "Socio and economic conditions are the root cause of the topics we are looking at today."

In Kenya, where gunmen killed 17 and wounded more than 60 in July 1 church attacks, Somalia-based al Shabaab has claimed responsibility, and at a time when U.S. policy and key diplomatic presence in Kenya is-wait, we've heard this before-absent.

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The German government is committed to protecting religious freedom-despite a court ruling that circumcision amounts to criminal bodily harm. Jewish and Muslim leaders have protested the Cologne court's ruling in the case of the circumcision of a 4-year-old boy that led to medical complications.

You've perhaps seen the viral video where a member of Jordan's parliament, Mohammed Shawabka, pulled a gun on his debate partner on live Jordanian television (see video clip below). I'm here to testify that civil debate is alive and well in some parts of the Muslim world, thanks to young intellectuals who are tired of government and politics the other way. Afghans for Progressive Thinking has been hosting college-level debates at Kabul University, with coaching from a championship Yale debate team, and this week branched out to Kabul Education University. These are real building blocks for democracy, and the leaders of this group are my heroes for their work on college campuses in Afghanistan. See the photos, follow them, and like them on Facebook.

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