Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Winter storm forces evacuation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

International | Plus, the reception for Saudi asylum-seeker contrasts with the plight of Asia Bibi
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/09/19, 12:37 pm

LEBANON: Hundreds of Syrian refugees were rescued from camps in Bekaa Valley, as a winter storm sent wind and torrents of rain and snow across the country. Lebanon, with a pre-war population of about 4 million, since 2014 has housed approximately 1 million Syrian war victims.

AUSTRALIA’s Department of Home Affairs confirmed that UN officials have referred for consideration for refugee resettlement Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, the 18-year-old Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a hotel room at the Bangkok, Thailand, airport, demanding asylum. Alqunun feared being killed by family members in Saudi Arabia for leaving Islam and appears likely to be granted asylum in Australia.

PAKISTAN: Avid welcome for Alqunun stands in contrast to silence in the case of Asia Bibi, who spent the holidays with her family in an Islamabad safe house “until another country agrees to take them in.” Attorney Saiful Malook explains her case well, and acknowledges that threats to his own life are likely to keep him from returning to Pakistan for at least two years.

More than 500 Islamic clerics have signed the “Islamabad Declaration” against Islamic terrorism and violence committed in the name of religion and incited by radical clerics. The clerics said resolving Bibi’s case must be a “priority.”

UNITED STATES: The Wall Street Journal produced some helpful graphs on the state of the U.S. foreign-born population. Statements from the National Immigration Forum’s Ali Noorani and World Relief show a bipartisan way forward to secure borders, establish needed immigration reform, and end the now 19-day partial government shutdown.

NIGERIA: Nigeria has a record number of candidates—20,000—running in this year’s general elections. The Independent and National Electoral Commission had previously announced 84 million voters would participate in the elections, scheduled for February and March.

ZIMBABWE: Teachers went on strike Tuesday to demand pay in U.S. dollars. Zimbabwe is short of cash, with not enough currency to back up the numbers in people’s bank accounts. After talks with newly elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa failed to achieve a breakthrough, members of a teachers union declared the strike, joining government doctors and other civil servants suffering from massive inflation.

CHINA: Eight Islamic leaders met with government officials to “guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicize the religion.” Under President Xi Jinping, China has targeted Muslims for persecution, seen vividly in the approximately 1 million Uighur Muslims placed in re-education camps.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy is senior editor of WORLD Magazine and the author of They Say We Are Infidels. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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