‘A death sentence’
International | Trump to decide the fate of thousands of Syrians residing legally in the United States
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/01/19, 12:46 pm
SYRIA: The Trump administration has until the end of Thursday to decide whether to end the temporary protected status of about 7,000 Syrians legally residing in the United States. My colleague Harvest Prude talked to several of them, who said going back to Syria would be “a death sentence.”
IRAQ: Iraq’s government in Baghdad appears ready to follow Iran in curbing religious freedom, allowing Islamic mullahs to sit on the nation’s highest court in a proposed law that “could substantially alter the court’s function, promoting an increasingly theocratic state.”
On the fifth anniversary of the ISIS invasion of Yazidi and Christian homelands, the continued suffering, fear and uncertainty in both communities shows that the genocide process is ongoing. About 100,000 Christians and 350,000 Yazidis are subsisting in camps lacking basic services. About 3,000 Yazidi women and children abducted in 2014 remain missing—and believed alive, as opposed to thousands who were massacred and remain unaccounted for. “We want justice, we want to rebuild, and we want to go home—but we cannot do so without support,” wrote spokeswoman Nadia Murad, outlining key steps like local governance and rebuilding that Yazidis continue to plead for.
NETHERLANDS: A law banning the face-covering burqa worn by hundreds of Muslim women goes into effect Thursday.
CHINA: Activists and rights groups question whether China has released most of the 1 million Uighur and other Muslim minorities held in so-called reeducation camps in the Xinjiang region. Shohrat Zakir, the region’s Uighur governor, defended the centers Wednesday as a “pioneering” approach to counterterrorism, and said, “Most of the graduates from the vocational training centers have been reintegrated into society.”
BRAZIL: Shady dealings with the Castros and irregular payments tied to the expansion of Cuba’s Mariel port and two airports are the latest revelations in an ever-expanding bribery scandal involving Brazil-based Odebrecht, the largest construction company in Latin America. Peru’s former president was arrested in California last week, as the scandal fells top leaders in politics and business throughout Latin America. The latest revelations are part of a crack investigation by more than 50 journalists that began in 2010.
ZIMBABWE: More than half of the 4.5 million residents of the capital city of Harare now have running water only once a week—thanks to gross government mismanagement in a time of drought.
I’M READING: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee … and have a few thoughts about Liberty in the Things of God by Robert Louis Wilken (which I highly recommend): The Reformation era was a time of religious and political upheaval (not unlike our own) when thought leaders were coming to understand that “if liberty of conscience is recognized by any, it must be recognized for all”—a concept ultimately giving birth to the New World. But the breakup of medieval Christianity into many Christian communities happened in the context of overarching Christian thought. How do we look at religious liberty today, when overarching thought is broadly areligious, and even averse to Christianity?
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