Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ministry Tells Christians To NOT Forget About Asia Bibi

Christians should not forget about Asia Bibi – the first woman to be sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy in Pakistan – as the country’s high court decides on a date for her appeals hearing, said a ministry that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians.

Bibi’s case should not be swept under the rug and forgotten but Christians “must pray and advocate” on behalf of the innocent woman, said Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, in a statement Monday.

“We continue to stand with Christians in Pakistan. We continue to help them face the incredible pressure – the almost unimaginable pressure – they are under every day, by spiritual means, by encouragement and through advocacy, speaking out on their behalf,” said Moeller.

As of Tuesday, the Lahore High Court has still not set a date for her appeals case. There was hope that President Asif Ali Zadari could pardon her before the hearing, but last week the court barred him from doing so. It ruled that it is illegal for the government to pardon her while the case is pending.

Bibi, a mother of five, has been in prison for one-and-a-half years. Last month, she was sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly speaking ill of Muslim Prophet Muhammad. She was accused of blasphemy by fellow field workers but she denies it.

She said the false accusation stems from a petty argument she had with her Muslim co-workers after they refused to drink water that she fetched for them. They complained that the water container was touched by a Christian. Upset by their comments, Bibi argued with them but afterwards thought nothing of the incident. However, a few days later dozens of Muslims dragged her away. She was accused of blasphemy and has since been imprisoned and sentenced to death.

Bibi’s family was only one of two Christian families in the village. Now they are the only one in the village because the other family moved away after Bibi was arrested, her husband told reporters last month.

Moeller of Open Doors stresses that the Pakistani government must repeal the blasphemy law to prevent similar cases that oppress Christians and other religious minorities in the country.

“The larger problem is that the blasphemy law exists in the first place," he said. "That a person like Asia – and many others through the years – can be put in prison for a year and a half without even telling her side of the story is a travesty of justice and basic human rights.”

“Christians and the international community need to keep pressure on the Pakistani government to drop laws like this one and not cave in to the Muslim extremists."

Hardline Muslims have held protests in Pakistan warning the government against changing the blasphemy law or else face protests nationwide.

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Pro Christian Ads VS Atheists Ads

A week after atheists rolled out their "Good without God" bus ads in Fort Worth, a blue mobile billboard truck appeared in the city declaring an entirely different message.

"I still love you. – God," the billboard reads. In a smaller font size, the ad also states, "2.1 billion people are good with God."

The blue truck was sponsored by an anonymous group of individuals, according to Heath Hill, president of Lime Media, which owns a fleet of mobile billboard trucks.

"These are business owners and individuals that really just want the atheists to know God hasn't give up on them and still loves them," Hill told Fox 4 News.

The truck ad is in response to the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason's ad campaign, launched last week. The ads, plastered on the sides of Fort Worth's "T" buses, declare, "Millions of Americans are good without God." The backdrop of the ads is an image of an American flag made up of the faces of actual atheist and agnostic people.

The coalition said the campaign is designed to raise awareness about people who don't believe in a god and to guide those interested to the 15 area nontheistic groups that make up the DFW coalition.

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Toys For Tots Volunteer Steals Toys

Police in Bangor said they've seized thousands of dollars worth of stolen toys that were supposed to be given to children in need this Christmas.Police said the man suspected of taking them is a volunteer for the Toys for Tots organization.The toys were found at the man's home after police were tipped off that the toys were being sold on the Internet, police said.Some of the toys police found were already packaged and ready to be shipped out of state.Skip Young with the Toys for Tots program said he feels the group has been betrayed and that the man was trusted.

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Man Steals Video Games From Hospital Treating Children With Cancer

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police are looking for a man who they say walked into a hospital in Charlotte and stole gaming systems used by children who are being treated for cancer.

The incident happened at Carolinas Medical Center on Wednesday, Dec. 8, around 4:23 p.m.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the treatment center was closed at the time and none of the children came in contact with the thief.

On Thursday, CMPD released two surveillance pictures of the suspect standing in the hallway at the hospital.

The suspect was wearing a toboggan which appeared to be blue or purple. He was also wearing glasses, a thick black coat and had a back pack.

Police say they hope to find the man and the stolen gaming systems so the children will be able to continue using them while receiving treatment for their illnesses.

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DREAM Act To Allow Illegal Immigrants To Stay In The U.S Is In Danger

Washington (CNN) -- Senate Democrats conceded Thursday they don't have the votes to pass the DREAM Act, a bill that would have offered a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children.

Democrats voted to pull the measure from consideration, a move that jeopardizes the chances for passing the hotly contested bill during the current lame-duck session of Congress that ends in early January.

While supporters say the measure that passed the House on Wednesday could still come up, each passing day reduces the likelihood for introducing and debating the act as legislative leaders battle over priorities in the waning days of the session.

Senate Republicans opposed the bill, standing by their pledge to block any legislation during the lame-duck session until the chamber approves bills to extend the Bush tax cuts and fund the government.

The so-called Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would have affected immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children under the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. Other requirements include graduating from high-school or obtaining a General Education Development diploma and demonstrating "good moral character."

Even then, only a six-year conditional status would be awarded. Before moving to the next phase, the students would need to meet additional requirements -- attending college or serving in the military for at least two years, and passing criminal background checks.

Proponents, including President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, say the bill offers legal standing to young people brought to the United States who have bettered themselves and served their new country, while opponents claim it is a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

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Protestors Attack Prince Charles and Camilla's Car

Policy Clash Could Mean No Christmas For Women and Children In Domestic Violence Shelter

PLANO — Six months ago, a woman and her three children showed up at Hope's Door, a domestic violence shelter in Plano.

Under the circumstances, she knew that giving Christmas gifts to her kids this year would be impossible.

"We've made it this far, and hopefully, everything falls into place, and if it doesn't, then so be it — there will be other Christmases," she said.

Now, their only hope for gifts this Christmas is in jeopardy.

The holiday party for Hope's Door clients won't get the toys and gifts that a charity had promised to them.

"Very disappointed," said the mother of three, who did not wish for her identity to be revealed. "I don't have another means to give my children presents."

In all, 98 children and their moms at the shelter have been turned down.

Pat Tosi from Hope's Door told News 8 the charity they partnered with pulled out Tuesday because the shelter refused to hand over the names of the women in need.

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