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World Help cancels plans for tsunami orphanage
Yesterday's Weblog on plans by Virginia-based missions agency World Help to raise 300 Muslim tsunami orphans in a Christian children's home was outdated before we were even able to post.

In fact, it was outdated a day before The Washington Post published its story, too.

As it turns out, World Help canceled its plans to build the orphanage on Wednesday, once it heard that the Indonesian government wouldn't allow it.

Today's Post notes that the legal hurdles were big: "Indonesia … had regulations in place even before the tsunami requiring orphans to be raised by people of their own religion. This rule was adopted in large part to ensure that Muslim children were not converted. In response to fears that Acehnese tsunami orphans would be trafficked, the Indonesian Department of Social Affairs adopted a further prohibition on people taking children out of the province."

It's interesting to note the different perspective between the Associated Press and Reuters reports on this story. For Reuters, it's all about the "proselytizing." At the center of the story is a quote from Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations: "This confirms some of our worst fears that certain missionary groups would exploit the tragedy and the earthquake to enter into these areas and convert people through use of a disproportionate power relationship. How many incidents of this type are taking place that we don't hear about?" (Other people are worried about the mounting death toll, massive hazards to public health, and how violent Islamic groups are pressuring relief groups. It's a bit surprising that a group wanting to take care of orphans rates among his "worst fears.")

The Associated ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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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