U.S. takes backseat in offering Asia Bibi asylum
International | Rumors swirl of pending release of the Christian mother acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan
by Mindy Belz
Posted 11/14/18, 10:34 am
PAKISTAN: A U.S. official involved in religious freedom issues told me Tuesday he was “not sure” whether the United States was making any efforts to offer asylum to Asia Bibi, the Christian mother exonerated of blasphemy charges two weeks ago by Pakistan’s Supreme Court but prohibited from leaving the country. Three British imams joined calls for the UK to offer asylum, as rumors swirl this week of her impending release. Ongoing unrest forced the Netherlands to recall embassy staff from Islamabad on Monday—as extremist groups targeted Dutch diplomats for granting temporary shelter to Bibi’s attorney.
NORTH KOREA: For more than a year, the Kim Jong Un regime has halted missile flight tests, but satellite imagery reveals more than a dozen hidden ballistic missile test sites that violate its pledges to dismantle such facilities.
ISRAEL: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has announced his resignation, saying he opposes the cease-fire agreement with Hamas in the wake of latest Gaza attacks.
JORDAN: King Abdullah is the recipient of the 2018 Templeton Prize.
FRANCE: Three years since the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, a 17th-century castle in Liége has become the refuge for front-line fighters to recover in the country’s ongoing terror battle.
TURKEY: Having secured the release of American Andrew Brunson, the Trump administration may be caving to the Erdogan regime’s hostage diplomacy in granting Turkey a waiver on Iran sanctions. Turkey has thrown out a conviction against Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak.
CAMEROON: The four remaining hostages out of the 82 people kidnapped from a boarding school in Cameroon were released Monday. The principal, one teacher, and two students were dropped off on the outskirts of Bafut, a town 15 miles from Bamenda, where the mass abductions took place.
NIGER: Community leaders posted a video calling for the release of abducted American Christian aid worker Jeff Woodke, championing his work and asking President Mahamadou Issoufou to intervene, two years after his capture. In a separate video, Woodke’s wife, Els, said, “It’s been two long years. You have not been abandoned. Not by God and not by those who help me. … Do not lose hope.”
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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.