The polio disease was on the verge of eradication when Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, president of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria and a physician, suggested at about this time in 2003 that the vaccination program in his country was part of a Western conspiracy to render Muslim children infertile. His call for an end to the polio immunization campaign touched a nerve and spread to other Muslim religious leaders in Nigeria, causing the vaccination process to slow down and incidences of the disease to pick up.
From Nigeria, this dual phenomenon of conspiracy theory and re-appearance of the disease then expanded to Muslims internationally. (For an outline of its progress over the past ten years, see my long weblog entry.) So closely connected have Islam and polio become that the Muslim-only pilgrimage to Mecca became a major mechanism of transmitting the disease to faraway places like Indonesia.
By now, Ahmed's paranoia has sent the new wave of polio from Nigeria to Muslim populations in at least 17 other African countries and 6 Asian countries: more >>
New York University, a private college located in New York City, is refuting the claims of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who is accusing the university of caving to "great, unrelenting pressure" from China in ending his fellowship position at the college campus.
The university is arguing that it has not chosen to end Chen's fellowship because it is opening an abroad campus in Shanghai, but rather because Chen's fellowship was only planned for one year and set to expire this summer.
Jerome Cohen, a law professor at NYU who played an integral role in helping Chen escape China last year, said in a recent email statement that the university has played its part in helping the blind human rights activist adjust to life outside of China. more >>
Raised in a conservative, loving, Christian home in New Jersey, Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water, has travelled from complete self-indulgence to truly discovering Jesus and on the way become an inspriing example of melding faith and work to literally help millions.
An only child, Harrison was active in his family's church and briefly attended Christian school. After pleading with his parents to go to public school, he got his wish in the 10th grade. He joined a band and grew his hair long. "Everything I said I wasn't going to do, I slowly started to do," he says of this period in his life.
When he turned 18, Harrison left for New York City and landed a lucrative job promoting nightclubs. Working a couple nights a week, his job was to "get beautiful people" into clubs, with the benefits of free booze and an income. He started off producing an R&B show at the legendary club Nells, where musicians like Prince and Stevie Wonder played. His next gig was to promote another club three nights a week that was right around the corner, called Lotus, where models and celebrities hung out. On the weekends he might fly to Paris. more >>
In the early to late-mid nineteenth century, New York City was at the center of the abolitionist movement to abolish slavery and Christianity was at its epicenter. Today, a new abolitionist movement is emerging in the city, this time to abolish the global trade of women and children for sex, and committed Christians are still centrally involved key players.
Over 150 years ago, New Yorkers were motivated by outspoken religious leaders, religious groups, and organizations involved with the Underground Railroad. The fiery sermons of Brooklyn's anti-slavery preacher Henry Ward Beecher received international attention. His sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, authored the best-selling novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which became the longest running play at the time, rousing even those on the Bowery to participate in the abolitionist movement.
Today, there are more slaves than at any time in history – an estimated 27 million worldwide are trafficked for sex, the majority of whom are women; 2 million are children. Every hour 34 children are forced into prostitution in America. more >>
Christian human rights organization International Justice Mission has helped free 273 forced laborers in the nation of India this week in what is the second-largest anti-slavery operation that IJM has been involved in.
Working with local authorities, International Justice Mission was able to successfully remove slave laborers from two brick factories located in Chennai on Tuesday.
Saju Mathew, IJM director of Operations for South Asia, told The Christian Post about the history of the group's efforts regarding human trafficking. "IJM has been working with local authorities to fight human trafficking in South Asia since the organization was established in 1997, with IJM's first field office dedicated to combat labor trafficking opening in 2001," said Mathew. more >>
Twenty-five years ago, President Ronald Reagan vigorously championed U.S. ratification of the international Convention Against Torture, which he signed on April 18, 1988. Reagan acclaimed it as having marked a significant step in the development of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment.
"Ratification of the Convention by the United States," Reagan wrote, "will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately prevalent in the world today." Little could he have known that the United States would itself soon engage in this "abhorrent practice."
That our government authorized and permitted the torture of a number of suspected terrorists and other detainees in its custody is one of the key conclusions reached in a comprehensive report released earlier this month by The Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment, an independent bipartisan group charged with examining the treatment of people captured in response to the global terrorist threat during the last three administrations. more >>