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Archive for September, 2012

When Should We Fast?.


… and humbled myself with fasting—Psalm 35:13

You might be thinking, I’m willing to fast, but when do I do it? I would therefore like to suggest five occasions on which fasting is justifiable.

I think the first of those would be when the burden we are under is so great that we do not really have a desire for food—for this may be a hint from God that we should fast. David experienced a time of great mourning when God smote the son born to him as a result of his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:15-16).

The second occasion that justifies fasting is when we are about to embark on a very great task for God or have to make an important decision. At the beginning of His ministry, after His baptism, Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:2). Maybe you need to know God’s will and don’t know what to do. It is justifiable to fast because you need wisdom for something in the future.

A third reason is if we feel that God is hiding His face. Perhaps we are in a rut or have known better days spiritually. Perhaps God is not as real as we have known Him to be, and we are not sure whether we have grieved Him or whether He has just chosen to hide His face for reasons we can’t understand. Perhaps God is hiding His face from us in order to drive us to our knees to seek Him.

The fourth occasion is when we have experienced delay in the answers to our prayers. In the Old Testament in particular we have accounts of situations where God did not step in as it had been hoped He would, and as a result the people fasted.

The fifth occasion that justifies fasting is when we feel the need of unusual power that we don’t have, such as in the case of demon possession in Matthew 17, which was too big for the disciples to handle.

Fasting is a way of ensuring that we are completely dependent upon God and open to Him. It seeks spiritual emptiness and cleansing, and it enables us to hear God speaking.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

By ROD PARSLEY.

{ Day 272 }.


But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. —Psalm 31:14-15

David said, “My times are in your hands.” It’s one thing to commit our spirits into God’s hands; it’s quite another thing to trust God with the timing of His breakthrough.

Each “committing” has its own challenges and anxieties. After we commit our spirits into God’s hands, the test of time comes.

One year turns into two, and two years turn into ten. We begin to question, “What about the breakthrough? What about the promises?”

Though we have committed our spirits to Him, the years have multiplied. David saw there were two steps to this.

First, he committed his spirit; then he committed the timing of those dreams. He learned to rest in God’s sovereignty. We too must give ourselves to this two-part progression.

First, we commit our spirits and dreams into God’s hands by living lives of prayer and fasting as we seek their fulfillment. Second, we trust Him for the season of release.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, in all my life, You have never been one minute too early or one minute too late. When I am tempted to question Your timing in the future, help me to remember Your track record from the past. I rest in You and wait for Your promises.

When we stand before God in eternity, we will realize He was never one minute late.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Closer than you think…


“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
-Psalm 34:18

I remember going through a dark time that was very much connected to my faith. It began when I learned that the book of Mark wasn’t written down until 30 years after Jesus’ ministry. That really bothered me. Then, I started questioning much in the Bible, and I really didn’t know what to do with this frustration. I hadn’t yet learned that Mark, for example, had probably already memorized the whole Tenach, the Hebrew Bible. So, without this and other knowledge and understanding, I started to wonder if the Bible was real and if God was real. What was I to do with this doubt?

I remember, in the midst of this time of doubt, sitting down to play the piano. For some reason, I played Beethoven’s “Pathetique,” a song I learned when I was 15 and hadn’t played it in years. Nonetheless, I played it perfectly from beginning to end. Then, a light went on in my brain, and I began to weep. I realized that, in the same way, the gospel of Mark in the Bible could be written many years after the events happened because of memory.

In that moment, I had to sit in the darkness, the doubt, and the struggle. I had to wait there on the Lord and I couldn’t force any of it to end. Then, organically and naturally, God brought me out of that dark time and prepared me to be a new person. And that renewed and deepened faith had to happen before I could go to seminary because, in seminary, much of what you believe is challenged as you’re prepared to be a pastor.

Sometimes, in the dark night of the soul, when you wonder if God even exists, if he hears your prayers, he is closer than you think.

Prayer: Dear Lord, even in the dark times, you are near to me. Your light shines brightly in my soul. Amen.

Reflection: Did you ever doubt the existence of God? The authenticity of your faith? What convinced you to continue to believe?

By Bobby Schuller, Crystal Cathedral Pastor.

Faithfulness.


“He said to him, ‘Well done, you good servant! Because you were found faithful with very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ - Luke 19:17

It is remarkable how much the Word of God makes of faithfulness – simple faithfulness. It is not great things that God requires of us unless our mission is to do great things; He asks only that we be faithful in the duties that come to our hand in our commonplace days.

That means that we do all our work as well as we can; that we serve well in the varied relationships of life in which from time to time we find ourselves; that we stand heroically in our lot, resisting temptation and continuing true and loyal to God; and that we fulfil our mission in all ways according to the grace given unto us, using every gift and talent for the glory of God and the good of the world.

The world crowns “success;” God crowns “faithfulness.”

Jesus tells us that faithfulness in this life lifts us to places of authority hereafter. So, then, life here is only a trial to see what we are capable of doing. It is after all a real probation to find out who may be set over large trusts. And the real life is to be begun in the other world. Those who prove faithful here will have places of responsibility in the kingdom of glory.

This ought to give a new and mighty motive to our living in this world. Our eternal honor and employment will depend upon the degree of our faithfulness here. good men and women often say at the close of their lives, “If I could only begin now, with all my experience, I could live my life much better.” Well, if they have been faithful, that is the very thing they will be permitted to do in the next world. A mother who had brought up a large family said: “I have just learned now how to train children. I could do it well if I could begin it again.” If she has learned this, that is just what Christ wanted her to learn. Now she is ready for full service in His kingdom.

By Vine.


Bible In A Year: September 30th…

By Book Old Testament New Testament Proverbs & Psalms
Nahum 1-3 Jeremiah 1-2-30 Philippians 1:27-2:11 Psalm 115:1-11

Obama and Romney fight for religious groups’ votes. Then there’s Romney’s Mormon faith.


 

Separation of church and state may be a constitutional requirement in US government. But in Election 2012 politics, religion has become an increasingly important factor.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are focusing on particular religious groups – Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical Christians. Mr. Romney’s religion – Mormonism – is being covered by the media like never before in US political history. (At least since the sect moved to Utah in the 19th century in order to practice its own beliefs – including, at that time, polygamy.)

Off to the side, meanwhile, is an apparent spat between the two most prominent Mormon politicians – Romney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – which seems to bear on their religion’s theology.

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

The cover story in the current issue of Time magazine is headlined “The Mormon Identity: What Mitt Romney’s faith tells us about his vision and values.” It’s written by Jon Meacham, who’s a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School and whose books include “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation.”

“[T]he question is whether Romney has the capacity to draw once more on the pragmatic tradition of his religious forebears,” Mr. Meacham writes. “Will he stick with a strategy that seems not to be working against President Obama, or will he respond to changing events … with bold policy proposals or a more overtly negative campaign or whatever might move the election in his favor?”

“One thing is clear: as a devout Mormon leader, Romney knows his church history, and he knows that difficulty and doubt are inherent elements of life,” Meacham writes. “The key thing is to remain faithful, to serve, to press ahead – to the next territory that might welcome you, to the next voter who might decide to give you a chance. From the outside, Romney’s life looks to have been easy and affluent. There is, however, another angle of vision, one that reveals a deep-seated Romney instinct to survive and thrive in even the worst of storms.”

In the New York Times a few days earlier, Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, had a long column titled “Why I Love Mormonism.”

There, professor Critchley (who is not a Mormon) sought to explain to non-believers – especially urban skeptics whose knowledge is limited to snarky superficialities – that the Mormons he met as part of his academic work “were some of the kindest, most self-effacing and honest people I have ever met.”

“They were also funny, warm, genuine, completely open-minded, smart and terribly well read,” he added.

But with many non-Mormons today, he finds “a casual prejudice that is not like the visceral hatred that plagued the early decades of Mormonism – lest it be forgotten, Joseph Smith was shot to death on June 27, 1844, by an angry mob who broke into a jail where he was detained – but a symptom of a thoughtless incuriousness.”

Washington, DC being a company town, the Washington Post visited the Mormon “ward” (congregation) where a President Romney likely would attend.

“More ethnically and economically diverse than the typical Mormon ward, its roughly 200 congregants are drawn largely from Northeast Washington and have included deported immigrants, a teen shot dead in gang violence, refugees from African wars, and youths who depend on the church for meals, tutoring for class and support to pay for Boy Scout camp,” the Post reported.

The writer seemed surprised to find that most ward members are Democrats. Still, one said, “I’d welcome him with open arms.”

One who would not welcome Romney to Washington with open arms is fellow Mormon Sen. Reid. When Romney made his now-infamous comment which seemed to write off the 47 percent of Americans who “are dependent upon government … believe that they are victims … believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” Reid was quick to comment that Romney had “sullied” their religion and that the GOP presidential challenger “is not the face of Mormonism.”

In the Washington Post’s “Belief Watch” column, Lisa Miller puts Romney’s controversial “47 percent” remark to wealthy donors in historical and theological perspective.

“Mormons regard thrift, industry and self-reliance as non-negotiable obligations,” she writes. But, she adds, “The dark side of the Mormon devotion to self-reliance is a corresponding horror of failure and dependency on outsiders.”

“A good Mormon wants to care for others in need, but he doesn’t want to be cared for,” she writes. “If in dire straits, he should seek help first from family and then from his church community – not from government assistance.”

Not all Mormons agree with Romney’s apparent interpretation.

“That’s Republicanism,” Kathleen Flake, professor of religion at Vanderbilt Divinity School and a Mormon, told the Post. “That’s not Mormonism.”

“What thunders from the Book of Mormon in LDS churches on Sunday, professor Flake added, is ‘if you judge the poor, you have no place in the kingdom of God.’”

Beyond Romney’s faith, both he and Obama are watching closely as other religious groups move toward one candidate or the other, seeking to influence that trend.

The Religion News Service reported this past week that “President Barack Obama’s support among Catholic voters has surged since June … despite a summer that included the Catholic bishops’ religious freedom campaign and the naming of Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic, as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate.”

“On June 17, Obama held a slight edge over Mitt Romney among Catholics (49 percent to 47 percent), according to the Pew Research Center,” the news service reported. “Since then, Obama has surged ahead, and now leads 54 percent to 39 percent, according to a Pew poll conducted Sept. 16.”

Among Jewish voters in 2008, Obama won an overwhelming 78 percent, according to exit polls. This year, the GOP is trying hard to win a larger percentage of such voters.

Reports the New York Times: “Focused on South FloridaOhio, and Nevada, the Republican Jewish Coalition, backed mostly by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Zionist, has begun spending $6.5 million on an air-and-ground strategy to reach Jewish voters who may view Mr. Obama as unreliable on the question of Israel’s security.”

In recent weeks (and especially in light of the perceived threat from Iran’s nuclear progam), Romney himself has played up his close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Evangelical Christians – a substantial minority of whom had previously indicated they might not be able to vote for a Mormon – apparently began gravitating toward Romney once it became clear he would be the Republican nominee.

“There are at least two explanations for why Romney’s Mormonism matters so little among this powerful voting bloc,” writes Jonathan Merritt on the blog site for Sojourners, the progressive religious and social action organization. “First, evangelicals seem to care more about political ideology than orthodox theology as far as voting is concerned. Polls show that voters care most about the economy, not faith. It’s why the Tea Party – most of them being self-described evangelicals – have gravitated toward another Mormon, Glenn Beck.”

“Second, any discomfort about Mormonism is outweighed by an even larger disdain for President Obama,” Mr. Merritt writes. “Many evangelicals bemoan the last four years of his administration’s policies and they fear what he’ll do if re-elected.”

As religion scholar John-Charles Duffy of Miami University in Ohio put it in the Religion & Politics online news journal, “Evangelicals may not think Romney’s a Christian, but at least he’s not Obama.”

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Brad Knickerbocker | Christian Science Monitor

USGS reports deep 7.1 Earthquake in Colombia.


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities say there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage from an earthquake centered deep underground in the country’s southwest whose magnitude the U.S. Geological Survey placed at 7.1.

The USGS says the quake struck at 11:31 a.m. local time on Sunday 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the regional capital of Popayan. It says it was centered at a depth of 94 miles (150 kilometers).

National disaster director Carlos Ivan Marquez says there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The regional emergency director, Isabel Hernandez, also reports no damage.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Associated Press

Chavez to Obama: I’d vote for you, and you for me.


CARACAS (Reuters) – With both presidents facing tight re-election fights, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavezgave a surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday – and said the U.S. leader no doubt felt the same.

“I hope this doesn’t harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I’d vote for Obama,” the socialist Chavez said of a man he first reached out to in 2009 but to whom he has since generally been insulting.

Chavez is running for a new six-year term against opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, while Obama seeks re-election in November against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Venezuela’s election is next weekend.

“Obama is a good guy … I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighbourhood, he’d vote for Chavez,” the president told state TV, referring to a poor coastal town known for the African roots of its population.

Chavez is one of the world’s most strident critics of Washington and his 14 years in office have been characterized by diplomatic spats and insults at the White House.

He called former U.S. President George W. Bush a “drunk” and the “devil.” After an initial overture to Obama came to nothing, he said the new president had disappointed progressives the world over and was the “shame” of Africans.

But Chavez was back in a conciliatory mood in a TV interview with friend and former vice president Jose Vicente Rangel.

“After our triumph and the supposed, probable triumph of President Obama, with the extreme right defeated here and there, I hope we could start a new period of normal relations with the United States,” he said.

“Obama recently said something very rational and fair … that Venezuela is no threat to the interests of the United States,” he added.

Since coming to office, Chavez has projected himself as the head of a global “anti-imperialist” movement inspired by his friend and ideological mentor Fidel Castro of Cuba.

Relations with Washington improved briefly after Obama took office in January 2009 and promised more engagement with Latin America. Chavez toned down his tirades against the “Yankee empire” and shook hands with the new U.S. leader at a summit.

But months later, he accused Obama of sticking to Bush’s foreign policies and capitalist agenda, and the tirade against the United Sates began again.

Despite the ideological gulf between Washington and Caracas, both sides take a pragmatic approach when it comes to business, with OPEC member Venezuela remaining the United States’ fourth biggest crude supplier.

(Additional reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Jackie Frank)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Helen Murphy | Reuters

Sudan tells United Nations its debts must be canceled.


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sudan told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that its debts must be canceled and its economy supported as it struggles to recover from losing three-quarters of its critical oil revenue to South Sudan when it seceded a year ago.

The International Monetary Fund this week urged Sudan to meet donors to discuss debt relief and some IMF board members called for “exceptional efforts” from the IMF and the global community to help Sudan reduce its debt of about $40 billion.

“Sudan requires assistance to go through this very sensitive stage towards better horizons. For that we believe that debts must be canceled and its economy supported,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said.

South Sudan seceded in July 2011. Leaders from both states finally reached a border security deal on Wednesday to restart badly needed oil exports, but failed to solve the other key conflicts left over from when they split.

The pair failed to settle the fate of at least five disputed oil-producing regions along the border. Tensions over the unmarked 1,200-mile (1930-km) common border spilled over into fighting in April, when South Sudan’s army briefly occupied the Heglig oilfield, vital to Sudan’s economy.

They were also unable to reach a solution for the border region of Abyei, which has symbolic significance to both and is rich in grazing lands. Plans for a referendum have failed over the question of who should participate.

“We have been determined to tackle the reasons for war and strife despite the strong economic and political pressures being brought to bear against my country and unfair sanctions imposed by the United States,” Karti said.

Washington still maintains its 1997 embargo on the country over Sudan’s role in hosting prominent Islamist militants. The sanctions restrict U.S. trade and investment with Sudan and block the assets of the Sudanese government.

The United States and other powers criticize Sudan for human rights violations and a harsh crackdown on rebels. Western powers also shun Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir who was indicted by the International Criminal Court over war crimes in Darfur, the site of a nearly decade-old insurgency.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Turkey, Egypt slam Syrian regime.


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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey and Egypt sought to boost their alliance in a turbulent region on Sunday, unleashing harsh criticism of the Syrian regime and pledging joint support for the Palestinian cause.

Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi, addressed a major congress of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, amid signs that a partnership between their two countries is emerging, and said they both plan to stand by Palestinians and the Syrian people.

“Our common goal is to support other people who are standing up against their administrations or regimes, to support Palestine and the Syrians in their efforts,” Mursi said.

“The events in Syria are the tragedy of the century,” Morsi said. “We will be on the side of the Syrian people until the bloodshed ends, the cruel regime is gone and Syrian people reach their just rights.”

In his speech to the congress, which is marking the ruling Justice and Development party’s decade in power, Erdogan promised that Turkey, which is host to some 88,000 Syrian refuges as well as Syrian opposition groups, would continue to support the Syrian people wanting to oust the regime of President Bashar Assad.

He appealed to Russia, China and Iran to stop backing the regime.

“We call on Russia, China as well as Iran: please review your stance. History will not forgive those who stand together with cruel regimes,” he said.

With Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas also present, Erdogan said Turkey is determined to speak out against what he called Israel’s “state terrorism” in the region and praised Morsi for his support to Palestinians.

“Through Morsi’s leadership, our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and in all other Palestinian cities are able to breathe easily,” he said.

Erdogan said Turkey would not reconcile with former ally Israel until it lifts its blockade of Gaza and apologizes for an attack in 2010 that killed nine mostly Turkish pro-Palestinian activists in a raid on a flotilla that tried to breach the blockade.

Israel has refused to apologize but has expressed regret for the loss of lives. It insists troops opened fire after coming under attack by activists.

During his 12-hour visit to Turkey, Morsi will try to strengthen economic ties with Turkey — a country his Muslim Brotherhood group views as an Islamic success story, mixing a strong economy with Western ties and Islamic piety.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Cairo earlier this month and pledged a $2 billion in aid to boost confidence in an economy badly battered by a tourism slump, strikes and ongoing protests since the fall of the authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak in an uprising last year.

Earlier, Erdogan told delegates at the congress that the era of military coups in the country is over and that Turkey is a model for other Muslim countries to emulate.

The Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2002, has maintained Turkey’s decades-old secular system, but at the same time has curtailed the power of the military, which have staged three coups since the 1960s and forced an Islamic government out of office in 1997.

Earlier this month, a court sentenced more than 300 military officers to long prison terms for attempting to topple the government in 2003.

“The era of coups in this country will never return again,” Erdogan said. “Anyone who intervenes or tries to intervene in democracy will sooner or later go in front of the people’s courts and be made to account.”

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By SUZAN FRASER | Associated Press

Pakistan: In twist, Muslims accused of blasphemy.


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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s blasphemy laws may be used to punish Muslims suspected of ransacking a Hindu temple in an intriguing twist for a country where harsh laws governing religious insults are primarily used against supposed offenses to Islam, not minority faiths.

The blasphemy laws, sections of which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment, have drawn renewed international scrutiny this year after a young Christian girl in Islamabad was alleged to have desecrated the Muslim holy book, the Quran. A Muslim cleric now stands accused of fabricating evidence against the girl, who has been freed on bail and whose mental capacity has been questioned.

Police officer Mohammad Hanif said Sunday the anti-Hindu attack took place Sept. 21. The government had declared that day a national holiday — a “Day of Love for the Prophet” — and called for peaceful demonstrations against an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. that has sparked protests throughout the Muslim world. Those rallies took a violent turn in Pakistan, and more than 20 people were killed.

Hanif said dozens of Muslims led by a cleric converged on the outskirts of Karachi in a Hindu neighborhood commonly known as Hindu Goth. The protesters attacked the Sri Krishna Ram temple, broke religious statues, tore up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, and beat up the temple’s caretaker, Sindha Maharaj.

“The attackers broke the statues of (Hindu deities) Radha, Hanuman, Parwati and Krishna, and took away the decorative gold ornaments,” Maharaj said. “They also stormed my home and snatched the gold jewelry of my family, my daughters.”

Maharaj and other Hindu leaders turned to the police, who registered a case against the cleric and eight other Muslims. But none of the suspects had been found as of Sunday, police said.

Officials said the case against the attackers was registered under Section 295-A of the blasphemy laws, which covers the “outraging of religious feelings.” That section of the law can apply to any religion and carries a fine or up to 10 years imprisonment.

The Asian subcontinent’s British rulers originally framed blasphemy laws partly as a way to prevent violence among Muslims and Hindus. Muslim-majority Pakistan was carved out of India in 1947, and under the military rule of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, a fervent Islamist, the statutes covering blasphemy were toughened in the 1980s.

Area police chief Jaffer Baloch said authorities were simply considering the Hindus’ complaint under the relevant section of the law.

Islam’s Prophet Muhammad “teaches us to respect others’ religions so that ours shall also be respected,” he said. “Like us, Hindus have their own faith and religion and they do have sentiments for their Bhagavad and gods.”

Human rights activists say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are too broad and vague, and are often used by people who are trying to settle scores with rivals or target religious minorities, who make up 5 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people.

Although many Muslims are accused of insulting Muhammad or other acts deemed blasphemous, minorities are disproportionately represented among the defendants, rights groups say.

Hindus and Christians are among prominent minorities who fear the blasphemy laws. Also frequently blamed for blasphemy are Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslims but are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims.

Pakistan is not known to have actually executed anyone for blasphemy, and while courts often set the accused free on technical grounds or other reasons, many extremists have killed people who were let go by judges.

Even speaking out against the blasphemy laws can put people in danger. Two prominent politicians, including the sole Christian member of the federal Cabinet, were assassinated in 2011 for urging reform of the law.

The politicians, Punjab province Gov. Salmaan Taseer and Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, had spoken out in defense of Asia Bibi, a Christian sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Bibi, whose case prompted international criticism, is believed to be the first woman condemned to die under the statute and remains in prison.

The laws retain broad support in Pakistan, where Islamic conservatism is on the rise alongside extremism and Muslims are highly sensitive about their faith. Taseer’s killer, for instance, was hailed as a hero in many quarters. Thousands of people rallied to support him, and lawyers showered him with rose petals.

Many human rights activists, partly out of their own security concerns, have tempered their demands: years ago, they used to call for the blasphemy laws’ repeal, but now they say the laws should be reformed to prevent misuse. Even leaders of minority religious groups have often said they support the law but simply do not want to see it abused.

Although there’s no sign that the weak civilian government plans to amend the law, the case of the Christian girl has brought some hope that sentiments about it may change. Even some Islamist clerics sympathized with the girl, whose age has been said to be 14 or younger and who may be developmentally disabled.

Witness claims that a Muslim cleric stashed pages of a Quran in the girl’s bag to make it seem as if she burned them have added to the sympathy for her. The cleric is accused of planting the evidence to push Christians out of the neighborhood and is now being investigated for blasphemy himself. He denies any wrongdoing.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By ADIL JAWAD | Associated Press

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