Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called the Sudan government's militia activity in its Darfur region "genocide" yesterday. It marks a dramatic increase in pressure on the Sudan government to stop the attacks on largely Muslim blacks supported by the Arab Muslim government.

"When we reviewed the evidence compiled by our team," Mr. Powell said, "we concluded—I concluded—that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed [militia] bear responsibility."

Ten years ago, the United Nations and the U.S. government refused to call the murders of 800,000 of Rwandans genocide, in part because of legal ramifications. The Associated Press writes, "Under the genocide convention, the United Nations can take any action under its charter that it considers 'appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide,' Powell said. He urged the U.N. Security Council to approve a resolution that asks the United Nations to look into 'all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights that have occurred in Darfur.'" More than one million people have been displaced because of militia raids in the region.

The United Nations and the European Union are hesitant to use the term. "'We want to concentrate on keeping the government of Sudan engaged and not go down a path that could terminate that engagement,' said Munir Akram, the Pakistani ambassador [to the U.N.]. The Chinese ambassador, Wang Guangya, suggested that China might veto such a resolution," according to The New York Times.

"We have not discussed specifically the use of the word genocide,'' said European Union spokesman Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe. "We have noted that there is an extremely serious situation that still requires a huge humanitarian aid effort."

Other nations fear that by calling its actions genocide, the U.S. may provoke the Sudan government into less cooperation with the international community. Currently a few hundred African Union monitors are watching the implementation of a peace agreement, but they have little authority to enforce action. Powell said "genocide may still be occurring" in the country.

The U.S. has introduced a resolution in the U.N. Security Council calling for sanctions against the country, which could include limits on Sudan's oil production. According to the BBC sanctions could also include:

  • the expansion of the number and mandate of the current 300 African Union troops in the country
  • international overflights in Darfur to monitor what is happening, and an end to Sudanese military flights there
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  • U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to assess whether acts of genocide have been carried out and identify the perpetrators.

Evangelicals have been urging the administration to put pressure on Sudan to end its civil war against Christians and animists in the south of the country. Recently, a peace agreement was signed between the two parties, but, as Ambassador Michael Ranneberger told CT, "the north/south agreement essentially cannot be implemented unless there is peace in Darfur."

For more on Sudan, including an interview with John Danforth, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., see our Sudan page.

Other articles on Sudan include:

  • Powell says rapes and killings in Sudan are genocide | Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared Thursday that the United States viewed the killings, rapes and destruction of homes in the Darfur region of western Sudan as genocide, and he called on the United Nations Security Council to recognize that the situation required urgent action. (The New York Times)
  • Powell: Sudan abuses qualify as genocide | The Bush administration for the first time on Thursday called attacks in Sudan's Darfur region by government-backed Arab militia against black Africans "genocide.'' (Associated Press)
  • US blames Khartoum, militias for Darfur 'genocide' | Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday genocide has occurred in Darfur and blamed Sudan's government and Janjaweed militias, a finding likely to increase pressure on Khartoum to end the violence. (Reuters)
  • Darfur attacks are genocide, Powell tells US Senate | Attacks on the black African population in Darfur qualify as genocide, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said yesterday in a declaration that increased the pressure on the Sudanese government. (The Scotsman, UK)
  • Powell accuses Sudan of genocide in Darfur | The United States invoked the term "genocide" for the first time yesterday to describe the campaign by the Sudanese Government and the Janjaweed Arab militias that has driven more than a million black villagers from their homes in Darfur. (The Times, London)
  • Stakes rise as US declares Darfur killings genocide | The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, dramatically increased pressure on the Sudanese government yesterday by declaring the killings and destruction in its Darfur region to be genocide. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Sudan anger over genocide claim | Sudan has categorically rejected a statement by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in which he described the killings in Darfur as genocide. (BBC)
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  • U.S. calls killings in Sudan genocide | Khartoum and Arab militias are responsible, Powell says (Washington Post)
  • US calls Sudan atrocities genocide | US Secretary of State Colin Powell called atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region genocide and demanded a UN probe into the crisis, hastening moves toward sanctions on Khartoum. (Agence France-Presse)
  • Sudan: Government denies US description of Darfur conflict as genocide | The Sudanese government has rejected the description by the United States of the conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur as genocide, and accused Washington of exploiting a humanitarian crisis for political gain. (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Nairobi)
  • State Dept. Report: Sudan behind Darfur militias | A new U.S. State Department report on the atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region concludes that the murder, rape and displacement of black villagers have been systematically promoted by the Sudanese government. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is under pressure to legally define the violence as genocide. (The Tavis Smiley Show, NPR)
  • Conservative Christians pushed hard for G-word | The U.S. administration's use of the G-word -- genocide -- for the violence in Sudan was lauded yesterday by the American evangelical right and interpreted by a specialist on religion and politics as a direct result of conservative Christians' influence on President George W. Bush. (The Globe and Mail, Canada)

More Articles:

Religion & politics:

  • Poll: Kerry closing 'religion gap' | A majority of Americans still give the Republican Party the advantage on the issue of religion, but John Kerry may be gaining ground on President Bush, according to a Pew Research Center poll. (Al-Jazeera, Qatar)
  • Preaching to right choir could swing presidential election, new poll shows | The Fourth National Survey of Religion and Politics found that nearly half of liberal evangelicals and nearly a third of moderate evangelicals identify themselves as Democratic, making them fertile territory for Democratic contender John Kerry. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • How would Jesus vote? Keyes can't presume to know | "Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has voted to behave in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved," Alan Keyes said at a press conference earlier this week. (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun Times)
  • Bush has opportunity to unite two groups | This year, President George W. Bush can do something that no other Republican candidate has had the opportunity to do in a long time. He may be able to bridge two historically divergent groups: American Jews and American evangelical Christians. (Ken Kurson, Newsday)
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  • Colo. educators worry about free speech | A university president and a Democratic state lawmaker said rules put in place this year to protect conservative views on Colorado campuses have led to death threats against professors and a harmful effect on free speech. (Associated Press)
  • Biology journal says it mistakenly published paper that attacks Darwinian evolution | A small scientific society has publicly distanced itself from a paper, published last month by its journal, that challenges Darwinian evolution. The Biological Society of Washington issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the paper, which supports so-called intelligent-design theory, should not have appeared in the journal. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req.)
  • Religious scholar probes contemporary issues | Martin E. Marty to talk about his current work (The State, SC)
  • Liberal dominance in academia and media was not inevitable | For years I've minimized any talk of conspiracies and emphasized the importance of the battle of ideas. But now along comes a book, The Secular Revolution, edited by University of North Carolina professor Christian Smith and surprisingly published this year by the liberal University of California Press, that shows a whole lot of plotting going on. (Marvin Olasky, World)
  • The duel between body and soul | The conclusion that our souls are flesh is profoundly troubling to many, as it clashes with the notion that the soul survives the death of the body. It is a much harder pill to swallow than evolution, then, and might be impossible to reconcile with many religious views. The great conflict between science and religion in the last century was over evolutionary biology. In this century, it will be over psychology, and the stakes are nothing less than our souls. (Paul Bloom, The New York Times)

War & terrorism:

  • Israel explodes bomb hidden in tomb, Muslims angry | Israeli soldiers blew up a bomb hidden by militants in a Muslim cemetery in Bethlehem on Thursday, prompting an outcry by Palestinians who said the graveyard had been desecrated. (Reuters)
  • Nepal PM vows to fight rebels, India to give arms | Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba vowed on Friday to crush a deadly Maoist revolt in his poor Himalayan nation as giant neighbor India promised more military help to fight the leftist guerrillas. (Reuters)
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  • When religion is not | It is getting hard to see what fundamentalism has to do with religion It's stunning how many fundamentalist groups are based on creating a strong, transformed state: in Israel, or the Taliban, the (Buddhist) Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka -- and don't forget U.S. right-wing evangelicals, who carry great weight in the Republican Party and White House. (Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, Canada)
  • What al-Qaida did to us | Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the epoch-shaping onslaught on New York and Washington but a string of other al-Qaida attacks since 1998 has left little mark on our consciousness. What has terrorism done to the lives of ordinary people from Casablanca to Karachi? Our team of reporters asked nine people living in the shadow of the bombers (The Guardian, UK)
  • Father of 9/11 ringleader: Attacks were Jewish conspiracy | The attacks were a Jewish conspiracy carried out by the Israeli intelligence service, not a plot by Islamic extremists including his son, [Mohammed al-Amir Atta] declared in an interview (Associated Press)

Life ethics:

  • Bishops fight 'duty-to-die' Bill | The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster have joined forces to protest about proposed changes to the law on euthanasia. They warn that a new law could lead to a "duty to die". (Church Times, UK)
  • Churches unite to oppose euthanasia Bill | The right to die would become the duty to die, declare Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops in a rare joint submission to oppose the Euthanasia Bill. (Church of England Newspaper)
  • Oklahoma charges woman's drug use killed fetus | A 27-year-old Oklahoma woman has been charged with first-degree murder after doctors said the woman's illegal drug use caused her baby to be stillborn, prosecutors said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Same-sex marriage:

  • Poll shows most U.S. religious groupings oppose legalized gay marriage | Americans in most religious categories want laws to define marriage as between a man and a woman, with support among black Protestants virtually as high as among white evangelical Protestants, according to a survey issued Thursday. (Associated Press)
  • More smaller groups airing political ads | Just about everybody wants to have their say in this presidential election. From evangelical preachers who claim ``God is not a Republican or a Democrat'' to the anti-abortion Catholics Against Kerry, political advertising by smaller groups, and individuals in some cases, is popping up across the country. (Associated Press)
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  • Clash over Christian "anti-gay" march | Bournemouth could see a conflict between the gay community and local Christians next month, with religious groups planning a protest in the city. (, UK)
  • Bishops back same-sex marriage ban | La. Catholics urged to support measure (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

Religious freedom:

  • India's hardline Hindus vow to demolish Muslim tomb | Hardline Hindus plan to tear down the controversial tomb of a 17th century Muslim general on Sunday, in a grim echo of the 1992 razing of a mosque that sparked some of India's worst religious riots. (Reuters)
  • Christian refugees are coming home, says Iraqi ambassador to Vatican | "Many Christians who recently left Iraq are coming back," Albert Yelda, Iraq's ambassador designate to the Holy See, is quoted as saying. (AsiaNews, Italy)
  • Canadian Muslim leaders push for Shariah law | Some prominent Muslim leaders would like the Canadian province of British Columbia to formally allow Islamic shariah law to be used to arbitrate decisions regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance and other family disputes. (Religion News Service)


  • Christian population, second highest in TN | Despite the controversy that the now defunct anti-conversion law of the Jayalalithaa regime was aimed at preventing the Christian conversions, the data on Christian population shows that they are the second highest in Tamil Nadu. (Sun Network, India)
  • Controversy over one-child norm for Tamil Nadu | The Tamil Nadu election commission has stirred a hornet's nest by recommending that people with two children should not be allowed to contest in the local bodies polls. (New Kerala, India)

Missions & ministry:

  • Religion in the News | They called it ``ElderSpirit Community.'' And this time, the former nuns were determined to run the place their way. The 29-unit retirement community will sit at the foot of a wooded hill on the outskirts of this Appalachian mountain town. When completed next year, ElderSpirit will be open to men and women of all religions. There will be rental homes available for people with low incomes. (Associated Press)
  • Daughter of Graham answers call | Standing before a packed house of more than 1,000 women and a handful of men, Anne Graham Lotz set her open Bible before her on the glass pulpit and called for calm amid the applause. (Chicago Tribune)
  • SCRC conference attracts youth to Anaheim | Growing in intergenerational appeal, the 33rd annual Southern California Renewal Communities' Catholic Renewal Convention drew over 2,000 youth to the Labor Day weekend event (Sept. 3-5) attended by approximately 12,000 participants, including children, teens, young adults, families, singles and seniors. (The Tidings, Calif.)
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Church life:

  • Anglican commission on gays wraps up | A commission seeking to resolve the Anglican Communion's crisis over a homosexual U.S. bishop and other gay issues wrapped up its work Friday and said it would publish its report on Oct. 18. Eames said the panel would probably ``recommend radical changes in the ways Anglicanism relates to its different constituencies." (Associated Press)
  • College to convert church to theater | City council OKs North Central plan (Chicago Tribune)
  • Richardson loses in 3rd Baptist bid | The Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson last night was again denied the presidency of the nation's largest African-American denomination, likely ending a lifelong dream for the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. (The Journal News, NY)
  • Coptic church celebrates New Year | As 200 worshippers from Rockland and the surrounding area celebrated the liturgy in Arabic, English and Coptic, their gazes focused on the unfolding ritual. (The Journal News, NY)
  • Churches at forefront of battle against racism | As the world marks the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, churchgoers in Britain will be encouraged to "celebrate" ethnic diversity and speak up against injustice and racial discrimination on Racial Justice Sunday this weekend. (Church of England Newspaper)

Closing Catholic churches:

  • Board hears church ideas | Scores of residents filled the auditorium of the Harvey Wheeler Community Center this week in an effort to save Our Lady Help of Christians Church from significant alteration or demolition. The church, an icon in the West Concord village, will close its doors next month and probably be sold by the Boston Archdiocese as part of a sweeping restructuring effort. (Concord Journal, Mass.)
  • The faithful stand guard over church near Boston | Round-the-clock vigil defies orders to shutter building (Washington Post)
  • Boston Catholics sue to keep church open | Parishioners at a Catholic church outside Boston file a lawsuit to stop the Archdiocese of Boston from closing their parish and selling off its property. The archdiocese argues the courts can't intervene in internal church matters. Monica Brady-Myerov of member station WBUR reports. (Morning Edition, NPR)
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Religion & culture:

  • How did a benign symbol become such a cultural flashpoint? | There's a theological debate, or rather an ichthyological slapfest, going on these days. It's the war of the fish, and it's being waged on every street via car and SUV and pickup bumper. (Lansing State Journal, Mich.)
  • The Flood | Some conservative Christians will insist that Hurricanes Frances and Charley were (and Ivan might be) the result of God's will to punish us for some litany of behavior of which they disapprove. They are not only mistaken about divine climate control, but they make a mockery of the very Scripture they believe is without error. (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)
  • Wishing you a very merry (fill in the blank) in 2004 | Diversity makes life more interesting—and more complicated. As we become a more religiously varied nation, a calendar with only Christian holidays is decidedly out of date. (Mary Jacobs, The Dallas Morning News)
  • Jesus becomes a pop culture icon | In the beginning, Jesus was an outcast, misunderstood and punished for it. Those days are over. Walk through any mall, flip on the television or turn on your radio, and you'll see that Jesus is cool. (TVNZ, New Zealand)


  • Ingredients of a best seller: faith, luck and hard work | Last year, after being turned down by a half-dozen publishers, Mr. Marx self-published a book about a former professional football player turned minister who teaches high school football players how to be men of substance. In the week that ended on Saturday, the book, "Season of Life," was ranked at No. 10 on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. (The New York Times)
  • Writers of books seek writers of fatwas | Is this a time to be messing with the minds of Islamic clerics by staging a satirical play about religious death edicts? Indian-born Anuvab Pal, now an American businessman and playwright, certainly thinks so. (Chicago Tribune, via Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Ind)


  • The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis | C.S. Lewis was one of the 20th century's most influential advocates for Christianity. Sigmund Freud was one of the 20th century's most influential advocates for atheism. The two thinkers and their different worldviews are the subject of an ambitious four-hour series on PBS, airing Sept. 15-22. (World)
  • Comedian isn't funny | Bill Maher shows contempt for beliefs of nation's Christians (Jay Ambrose, Scripps Howard News Service)

Related Elsewhere:

  • Hospitals' faiths bias is revealed | Hospital patients and staff of religions other than Christianity have limited access to religious and spiritual care, an Edinburgh University survey has found. (The Scotsman, UK)
  • Madonna due to join Israel trip | Madonna is due to celebrate the Jewish New Year in Israel with 2,000 fellow students of Kabbalah, prompting an extensive police operation. (BBC)

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 executive editor. 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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