ASHINGTON - An evangelical Christian charity has dropped plans to settle
50 Muslim children orphaned by the Asian tsunami in a Christian-run home
after the Indonesian government blocked the move, the group said on Thursday.
Virginia-based World Help has raised $70,000 to place Muslim children in a
Christian orphanage near Jakarta. But the group's president, the Rev.
Vernon Brewer said it suspended fund-raising on Wednesday after Indonesia
said Muslim children could not be raised in a non-Muslim home.
"Once we realized that the government was not going to grant permission
yesterday we took that fund-raising appeal off of our Web site," Brewer
said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
The plan drew criticism from Muslim groups which said it would take
advantage of people in a position of need. Many religious charities
prohibit mixing relief efforts with proselytizing.
"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," said
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"How many incidents of this type are taking place that we don't hear
about?" Hooper said