LISTEN: Central African Republic Tries to Curb Religious War Crimes; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Orders Government to Help Resettle Sinai Christians Fleeing ISIS (BCNN1, 2/27/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Monday, February 27, 2017.

1. According to WORLD News, Christians and rights groups have said Central African Republic’s appointment of a prosecutor to bring war criminals to justice will help restore peace in the country. Christians and other civilians have died and fled their homes in the ongoing clashes with Muslim rebel factions. The government appointed Congolese national Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa as the court’s chief prosecutor. Mukimapa served as the attorney general of the armed forces in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. The Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame-Gbangou, chairman of the Interfaith Peace Platform, told World Watch Monitor the appointment of a prosecutor is a step in the right direction.

2. According to Reuters, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday (Feb. 25) ordered the government to take all necessary measures to help resettle Christians who have fled Egypt’s Northern Sinai after the group that calls itself the Islamic State killed several members of the community. Hundreds of Christian families and students have fled to Ismailia, north Sinai’s neighboring province, after seven Christians were killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. The Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire. Sisi held a meeting on Saturday with the prime minister, ministers of defense, interior, intelligence among other officials to discuss “the importance to resist all attempts to sabotage stability and security in Egypt,” the statement said. Sisi had also “directed the government to take all necessary measures to facilitate settlements for citizens in their set resettled areas.”

3. According to the Root, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald had his name etched into the memories of Americans when his murder was captured on dash cam and exposed in a viral blast online. Now, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has introduced a bill (The Laquan McDonald Camera Act) for Congress to consider this week that would restrict federal funding to agencies which fail to enforce police body camera and dash cam policies. Named after Laquan McDonald, his 2014 killing by a Chicago police officer has been seared into the hearts and minds of those affected by the rash of public police brutality assaults over the past few years. If Rush’s bill goes through, any law enforcement agency not in compliance of dash cam policy is taxed 10% of federal funding unless certification is provided to the U.S. Attorney General.

4. According to Fox News, Rachel Dolezal, the infamous white woman who for years passed herself off as African American and rose to become head of an NAACP branch, is now jobless, on food stamps and expects to soon be homeless. A defiant Dolezal, 39, recounted her current plight to The Guardian. Dolezal said she’s only been offered jobs in reality television and porno flicks. A friend helped her come up with the money for February’s rent and she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for March. And she still says she’s not white. Dolezal told The Guardian, “I do think a more complex label would be helpful, but we don’t really have that vocabulary. I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because, you know, I’m not white . . . Calling myself black feels more accurate than saying I’m white.”

5. According to USA Today, on Oscars night, many Hollywood stars dedicated their social media feeds to pictures of glitz and glamor. But a handful of celebrities also shared remembrances of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman five years ago on Feb. 26, 2012. Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ava DuVernay and Gabrielle Union all sported grey “Trayvon” sweatshirts with their hoods up, in support of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. While also sharing a link to purchase the sweatshirt, Washington captioned her photo, saying, “5 years later our hoodies are still up because the movement is still strong! #OurSonTrayvon SUPPORT THE FOUNDATION & GET THE HOODIE.”

6. According to Variety, Viola Davis won the best supporting actress Oscar Sunday night for her performance in Denzel Washington’s “Fences.” With the award, she became the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award for acting. It was perhaps the evening’s safest bet, as Davis had dominated the precursor circuit, winning 20-plus critical honors, the Screen Actors Guild prize, the Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice award and the British Academy award as well. After a surprising loss for her performance in “The Help” five years ago, a narrative of Davis being due had no doubt coalesced. But Davis’s performance was powerful and deserving regardless. After all, she already won a Tony Award for the same role, albeit in the lead category. She in fact becomes the second person in history to win a Tony and an Oscar for the same role but in different categories. The first was “The King and I” star Yul Brynner.

7. According to Religion News Service, with his win for portraying a drug dealer with a father’s heart in the film “Moonlight,” Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to take home an acting Oscar. Ali, 43, won in the Best Supporting Actor category Sunday (Feb. 26), topping much bigger names, including Jeff Bridges, nominated for “Hell or High Water” and Dev Patel for nominated for “Lion.” Four days before receiving this award, Ali and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, had their first child, a daughter.