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Indonesian official calls World Help plan "a serious violation"
The front page of today's Washington Post has a story that's sure to get much follow-up attention over the next few days, and is already reprinted in at least a dozen other papers around the world (and today. World Help, a large missions agency based in Forest, Virginia, has taken 300 Muslim "tsunami orphans" under age 12 from Banda Aceh to Jakarta, where they'll be raised in a Christian children's home (which has yet to be built).

"These children are homeless, destitute, traumatized, orphaned, with nowhere to go, nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat," an appeal on the World Help website said yesterday. "If we can place them in a Christian children's home, their faith in Christ could become the foothold to reach the Aceh people."

World Help president Vernon Brewer said he received permission from the Indonesian government, but Indonesia Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa denied it.

"If confirmed, this would constitute a serious violation of the standing ban by the Indonesian government on the adoption of Acehnese children affected by the tsunami disaster, and appropriate steps would be taken accordingly," he said.

That's where the he said/he said part of the story ends for now. The Post story doesn't have any further details from Brewer on where the permission came from, and whether it was written down.

But that's because the heart of the Post's story isn't on what to do with tsunami orphans; it's on the nefarious plot to convert Muslims.

"Most of the religious charities [involved in tsunami relief work] do not attach any conditions to their aid, and many of the larger ones — such as WorldVision, Catholic Relief Services and Church World ...

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Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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