Globe Trot: ‘Watershed moment’ for Indonesia

International | Muslims continue to protest Christian governor’s ‘blasphemy’
by Mindy Belz
Posted on Friday, December 2, 2016, at 2:48 pm

INDONESIA: Muslims continue to turn out in force to protest Jakarta’s Christian governor. This is a “watershed moment” for Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, writes Elizabeth Kendal, marking the rise of hardline Islamic fundamentalists who accuse Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama of blasphemy.

GAMBIA: President Yahya Jammeh, who once claimed he had a “billion-year mandate” to rule, has just conceded defeat in a shocking election loss to real estate developer (yes) Adam Barrow.

Jammeh, “president” of Gambia (also The Gambia) for 22 years, one year ago declared the country an Islamic state (Christian population is about 5 percent)—though the country has not been a seedbed of Islamic jihadism.

Fear and political imprisonments have dominated public life, and the country has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence in 1964.

NIGERIA: The indefatigable human rights crusader and British Member of Parliament Baroness Cox (see WORLD’s profile) narrowly survived an ambush by Fulani herdsmen—but the Fulani have killed at least 12 Christians in the past week in an ongoing campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing.

BRAZIL: Russell Shedd, 87, had as much to do as anyone with the explosive growth of Christianity in the global south—and I can only find one obituary in English marking his death on Nov. 26.

COLOMBIA: Congress approved this week a revised peace accord with FARC, the country’s longest running rebel group, but in doing so passed over voters, and particularly evangelical voters who were a decisive factor in voting down the accord earlier this year. Their concern: The accord enshrines “gender theory” language in a nation that only recently (and with U.S. pressure) approved same-sex marriage.

ISRAEL: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wants the United States to recognize a Palestinian state, and he would like President Obama to do it before he leaves office.

SYRIA: “We give up on life,” tweets one family from Aleppo, as government forces reportedly put the final clamp on rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

In the region, calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down are intensifying: “The person who kills almost 600,000 shouldn’t rule any country.” But it’s hard to see that happening with his Russian- and Iran-backed forces succeeding.

IRAQ: Four faith-based relief groups are among the top 10 ranked by one network as end-of-year giving approaches. And because many ask, I want to highlight again the list of aid groups WORLD recommends working in Syria and Iraq.

One of them, Free Burma Rangers, just completed a playground in Faisalia, an area just liberated from ISIS, that was made possible by a Globe Trot reader! Enjoy this video of children again playing in what was once a war zone:

Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

Read more from this writer