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Mother Teresa to be made saint

Man defends religious rights, wears fox hat in license picture

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An Oregon man's driver's license picture has become the focal point of a constitutional rights case study.

He goes by the name Bishop, and he says he wears a fox hat to honor his religion.

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"I'm a practitioner of the Seven Drums religion," Bishop said. "It's one of the (Native American) Nez Perce religions where we all have a wild animal totem."

Bishop says his animal is a fox, so he wears the hat as a symbol of that spirit wherever he goes.

The DMV office let him wear it when he took his new license picture. However, the application was denied, leaving him without a license for nine months.

"For our facial recognition software to work, we need people to remove any hat or facial gear that obscures their face," a spokesman for the DMV said.

Bradley Steinman, Bishop's lawyer, helped him resolve the case.

"Religious freedom is one of the foundational principles of the United States," Steinman said. "It's one of the things that makes our country the greatest country on the earth."

Bishop said his religious freedoms were violated, so he decided to fight back. He eventually won his appeal, but now he wants to warn others to stick up for their rights no matter what it takes.

"It shouldn't matter if you wear a yarmulke or a hijab or 'a silly fox hat,' as the man at the DMV wants to call it," Bishop said.

Kansas waiter's $20 tip was actually a Bible pamphlet

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Garret Wayman, 17, was excited to collect the $20 tip he saw peeking out from underneath a ketchup bottle on a table when he finished serving a group of customers.

But his excitement quickly turned to anger when he discovered the $20 bill was nothing more than a printed picture on a religious brochure.  

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"Don't be fooled," the pamphlet read. "There is something you can have more valuable than money!" 

Wayman, who works at Mulvane DK, a burger joint in Mulvane, Kansas, works many days a week to pay off $7,000 owed on his car. He said he was excited when he saw the bill because he had never received a tip of that size.

"I was just taken aback because I don't know if you've ever been a server, but whenever you see a $20 tip it's a big deal," Wayman told KAKE.

Some social media users called the incident "un-Christian-like."

"He just left that," Wayman told Tech Insider. "I wanted to tell him that I only make $3 an hour and bust my (expletive) at my job to make way less than I deserve, but he was gone by the time I had the chance to."

Read more here.

U.S. military members comfort Muslim girl afraid of deportation

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U.S. military members have a message for a Muslim child who is terrified that she’ll be deported: “I will protect you.”

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Melissa Chance Yassini, founder of the Dallas-based Unity Movement, shared her daughter Sofia’s fears on a public social media post:

“Sad day in America when I have to comfort my 8-year-old child who heard that someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted to kick all Muslims out of America. She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the Army came to remove us from our homes. She checked the locks on the door 3-4 times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”

The post has been shared more than 23,000 times.

Talk show host Montel Williams shared Yassini’s post on his officially verified Facebook page and responded with a message of support.

"It's beyond tragic that this young woman worries about being expelled from her own country based on her faith. Let us never forget many of those who founded this country were fleeing religious persecution - for us to now engage in it, to make a child feel like this, is essentially spitting in the face of the Constitution and those who sacrificed so much so that we can be free," Williams wrote. 

U.S. Army veteran Kerri Peek responded to the post and launched a heartwarming movement.

“Salamalakum Melissa!” Peek commented with a photo of herself in uniform. “Please show this picture of me to your daughter. Tell her I am a Mama too and as a soldier I will protect her from the bad guys.”

Peek then wrote a post on her own Facebook asking other U.S. servicemen to show their support for Sofia.

Then #Iwillprotectyou went viral:

Click here to read more and view more tweets.

Sad day in America when I have to comfort my 8 year old child who heard that someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted...Posted by Melissa Chance Yassini on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Posted by Melissa Chance Yassini on Monday, December 14, 2015

I need your help my friends. Will you help me please?? I am asking all my friends in the Armed Forces, Active or...Posted by Kerri Peek on Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas message sparks controversy at fire station

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The holiday spirit is normally alive and well this time of year in Oakville, Washington, a town of 700 people that is not accustomed to controversy.

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But when volunteer firefighters at Grays Harbor Fire District No.1 put a biblical message on their sign, someone complained.

The fire commissioner ordered that the sign come down and the Christmas tree be turned off. 

“This is just sort of asinine,” said Oakville resident Richard Hawkins.

When the fire station posted the story on Facebook, hundreds of people responded.

"They're all around the world: Australia, Sweden," said firefighter Shawn Burdett. “Merry Christmas is not a bad word.” 

The decision to put up the Christian message was made by five officers at the fire station. While the sign and tree are on public property, they were paid for with private donations.

"No tax dollars (were used), zero,” said Burdett. 

Residents became frustrated, saying that the voice of one should not speak louder than the voices of many. 

"I couldn't believe that one person could deny everybody Christmas," said resident Tim Newby. 

“The reason for Christmas is Jesus Christ, my gosh,” said community member Shirley George. 

On Monday night, about 200 residents met with commissioners.

"I would venture to say they would not get re-elected and I would actually venture to say they would struggle to get a vote," said Burdett.

The sign was restored after a 2-1 vote by the commissioners.

School apologizes after teacher asks Muslim student if she's carrying a bomb

The parent of an eighth-grade Muslim student at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett County, Ga., is angry after an incident in which a teacher asked his daughter if she was carrying a bomb in her backpack.

Abdirazik Aden, who was born in Somalia, said that on Monday, his 10-year-old daughter was going to class when a teacher stopped her and asked what she had in her bookbag.

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He said his daughter told her books. The unidentified teacher responded by asking her if she had a bomb in her bag.

“My daughter wanted to know why she was asking her that,” he said. He said his daughter was upset when she called to tell him about the incident. He went to the school to see what happened and was told by an assistant principal that it was a mistake.

“I was upset,” said Aden, who lives in Snellville and works as a truck driver and grocery store owner. “I was going to take my daughter out (of that school)."

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“We are from Africa, we are Muslims, we live in America,” he said. “I didn’t teach my children to hate people or to think they are better than other people. I don’t want nobody to treat them like that.”

Sloan Roach, spokeswoman, for Gwinnett County Public Schools, confirmed the incident happened.

“The remark was not appropriate, but based on their conversation and investigation,” school officials don’t believe it was made with “ill intent,” Roach said.

She said it was a regular teacher, not a substitute, who made the remark. The teacher was trying to get the students to put away their backpacks quickly and made the remark to the student that was basically, what do you have in there, a bomb?

The school’s principal, Eli Welch, conducted an investigation and spoke with the teacher and the parent.

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Roach said the principal has followed up with the family and apologized. School officials are also continuing to talk to and work with that teacher.

The incident follows heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric across the nation following the attack in California at a holiday party in which 14 people died. Donald Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, has also talked about a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The incident “shows the level of Islamophobia impacting people’s relationships with one another,” said Yusof Burke, board president of the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Obviously a teacher and a student should have a unique kind of relationship … It’s very disturbing to see.”

Woman performs random act of kindness at a Georgia mosque

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Community members at an Islamic center and mosque in Georgia got a kind surprise after leaving a class.

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The Islamic Community Center of Atlanta posted a copy of a note to its Facebook page from someone who describes herself as a “white atheist woman.”

According to the posting, several members of the Islamic Community Center found the note and a $20 bill on Tuesday after leaving a ladies’ class. The note doesn’t specify whether the act was in response to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country or incidents of anti-Muslim rhetoric and harassment that have been reported since the California attacks.

The note, handwritten on white notebook paper reads:

“Hello, I’m a white Atheist woman, but I strongly (underlined) believe that everyone (underlined) has the right to practice their religion in a safe place no matter what their religion is. I’m sorry for any negativity you may have experienced because of ignorant fear-mongering. Where there’s hate there is a greater amount of love and you are loved. I know $20 isn’t much, but I hope it helps with something.”

The Islamic Community Center of Atlanta is located in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Huma Faruqi, secretary of the board and a teacher there, said a group was leaving a class, going out the door when they spied the note in a sandwich bag.

“We didn’t think it was anything positive,” she said. But they were delighted when they read the note. “It shows America has not changed,” she said.

Ever since she and her family moved to the United States from Abu Dhabi, they have experienced kindness, she said.

Since the San Bernardino attack by what authorities describe as a “radicalized” Muslim couple, however, the anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased.

The GOP frontrunner’s comments have drawn anger, disgust and ridicule from Muslims and others in the United States and abroad.

It has drawn cheers as well.

There should be a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Trump said in a statement issued Monday.

There have also been reported incidents of harassment nationally, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Philadelphia chapter of CAIR, for instance, reported on its website that earlier this week a severed pig’s head was thrown outside the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society.

Faruqi, though, has witnessed other acts of kindness. During her regular walk, neighbors who never acknowledged her before have waved and smiled. Then, a fast food worker was extra friendly. This is the America, she and others say, that they have come to call home.

MashAllah some of our community members found this note when they left ICCA today after the ladies'  classPosted by Islamic Community Center of Atlanta - ICCA on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nun posts pic with dead 10-point deer, Facebook erupts

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A Pennsylvania nun’s photo of a 10-point buck she shot last week is drawing criticism on social media.

Sister John Paul Bauer went hunting on the first day of deer season, and waited in her tree stand for about three hours for a deer to come near her.

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She told WSEE that while she waited, she prayed the Rosary.

A short time later, several deer arrived, including two bucks. She bagged the larger one.

"I've always prayed the Rosary on the tree stand. That's a tradition.  You get up in the morning, you pray the Rosary in the tree stand.  So, I just think the Blessed Mother did smile upon me."

The nun learned to shoot while serving in the Navy. She said there’s something spiritual about hunting.

"When you're up on a tree stand, you're still, you're quiet.  You listen. You watch as the frosty ground just becomes alive.  It's like creation all over."

She has read comments on the Diocese of Erie Facebook page criticizing her for killing a beautiful animal, but she says it’s more about conservation than the thrill of the hunt because without the deer harvest, the animals would starve.

The Diocese of Erie appears to have removed the post.

Boy who emptied piggy bank to donate to Texas mosque gets rewarded in big way

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A 7-year-old Texas boy who gave his life savings to a mosque that had been vandalized after the Paris attacks has a new reason to smile.

Jack Swanson had been saving money to get his own iPad. He had $20 in the bank when the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, a local mosque, was vandalized. Swanson handed over his savings to help the mosque get repaired. His kind deed made international news.

>> RELATED: Texas boy empties piggy bank to donate to vandalized mosque

>> RELATED: Vandalism reported at Texas mosque

Author and human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar contacted Jack’s mother and, not long afterward, Jack opened the mail to find his very own iPad, compliments of Iftikhar. The package came with the following note:

“Dear Jack…You had saved $20 in your piggybank for an Apple iPad…But then a local Islamic mosque was vandalized…So you donated your $20 to this local Texas mosque instead…Because of your amazing generosity & kind heart…Please enjoy this Apple iPad with our sincere thanks…Love…The American Muslim Community"

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Iftikhar shared pictures of Jack showing off his new gift on Facebook.

>> Click here to see the photos

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>GOOD SAMARITAN UPDATE: "Dear Jack...You had saved $20 in your piggybank for an Apple iPad...But then a local Islamic...Posted by Arsalan Iftikhar (TheMuslimGuy.com) on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Texas boy empties piggy bank to donate to vandalized mosque

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A Texas boy's heartwarming act of kindness after a mosque was vandalized is going viral.

According to Austin American-Statesman, vandals struck the Islamic Center of Pflugerville late Sunday or early Monday, leaving soiled, torn pages of the Quran outside the facility. A member of the mosque said cleanup after the incident, which police are investigating as a hate crime, cost about $150.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Vandalism reported at Texas mosque

After hearing the news, Jack Swanson, 7, wanted to help, ABC News reports. He and his mother, Laura, emptied the boy's piggy bank and brought the money – $20 – to the Islamic Center.

"We should all be supporting each other," Laura Swanson told KVUE.

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Mosque board member Faisal Naeem was touched by the boy's donation.

"Jack's $20 are worth $20 million to us because it's the thought that counts," he told ABC News. "Jack is just a little older than my son, Ibrahim. If we have more kind-hearted kids like them in the world, I have hope for the future."

Read more here.

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