The Week in Review: March 13 thru 19

ISIL Uses Birth Control on Their Sex Slaves so They Can Keep Raping Them

by Rukmini Callimachi at The New York Times

Locked inside a room where the only furniture was a bed, the 16-year-old learned to fear the sunset, because nightfall started the countdown to her next rape.

During the year she was held by the Islamic State, she spent her days dreading the smell of the ISIS fighter’s breath, the disgusting sounds he made and the pain he inflicted on her body. More than anything, she was tormented by the thought she might become pregnant with her rapist’s child.

It was the one thing she needn’t have worried about.

Soon after buying her, the fighter brought the teenage girl a round box containing four strips of pills, one of them colored red.

“Every day, I had to swallow one in front of him. He gave me one box per month. When I ran out, he replaced it. When I was sold from one man to another, the box of pills came with me,” explained the girl, who learned only months later that she was being given birth control.

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President Obama Cuts Funding for ‘Abstinence Only’ Sex Ed Programs from 2017 Budget

by Debapriya Chatterjee at Atheist Republic

American President Barack Obama recently proposed cutting federal funds for Christian abstinence-only sex education programs that are organized by the Department of Health and Human Services so that the money could be channelized for other pertinent programs. The removal of funding for the abovementioned programs are among many other cuts suggested by Obama for his fiscal year 2017 budget. So far, the funding has been received in the form of a yearly $10 million grant.

Abstinence-only sex education programs typically leave out information about condoms and other kinds of birth control. Yet, implementers of these programs say that they are highly effective in positively affecting the sexual conduct among teenagers.

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Iranian Woman Arrested for Trying to Study

by Maryam Safajou at IranWire

My 20 year-old sister, Rouhie Safajoo, took part in the Iranian Universities’ Entrance Exam in 2014, but test results were never released to her. She was told to go to the National Testing Organization, which then told her that, according to a directive by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Baha’is are not permitted to take part in the exam at all.

When she protested that this was against the constitution of the Islamic Republic — which states that all citizens have a right to education regardless of ethnicity, language and religion — she was told to write a letter to be sent to the Ministry of Science.

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FBI Raids Yeshivas and Businesses Suspected Of Defrauding Federal ‘E-Rate Program’

by Steve Lieberman at Lohud

FBI agents and Rockland district attorney’s office detectives fanned out across Ramapo on Wednesday with search warrants demanding that vendors and yeshivas provide records and account for equipment allegedly bought by religious schools with millions in federal education technology dollars.

Agents descended around 1:30 p.m. on vendors at 21 and 29 Robert Pitt Drive, Monsey; 161 Route 59, Monsey; and 386 Route 59, Airmont, among other locations. The raids spread in the late afternoon to yeshivas in the Monsey area.

A group of FBI agents were seen outside a yeshiva at 93, 95 and 97 Highview Avenue, all converted single-family homes. They would not comment.

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Christian Group Training Public School Teachers How To Teach About Jesus Christ Without Getting Caught

by Emma Brown at The Washington Post

Finn Laursen believes millions of American children are no longer learning right from wrong, in part because public schools have been stripped of religion. To repair that frayed moral fabric, Laursen and his colleagues want to bring the light of Jesus Christ into public school classrooms across the country — and they are training teachers to do just that.

The Christian Educators Association International, an organization that sees the nation’s public schools as “the largest single mission field in America,” aims to show Christian teachers how to live their faith — and evangelize in public schools — without running afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition on the government establishing or promoting any particular religion.

“We’re not talking about proselytizing. That would be illegal,” said Laursen, the group’s executive director. “But we’re saying you can do a lot of things. . . . It’s a mission field that you fish in differently.”

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Suspect in November’s Paris Terror Attacks Shot and Captured in Belgium

by Kim Hjelmgaard and Doug Stanglin at USA Today

Salah Abdeslam, the main fugitive from November’s Paris terror attack, was arrested Friday along with two other suspects in a raid on an apartment in a Brussels suburb, French President Francois Hollande said.

Abdeslam, 26, was wounded in an intense gun battle as heavily armed security forces descended on a house in Molenbeek, a Brussels suburb where several of the Paris terrorists once lived. He  was wounded in the knee in the raid, according to Ahmed El Khannouss, the deputy mayor of Molenbeek.

French television showed images of police dragging a man with a white hooded sweatshirt into an unmarked police car as the operation unfolded.

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Religious Schools Frequently Do Not Teach Their Students Proper Science and History

by Roy Speckhardt at The Huffington Post

It’s not a secret that the US education system is in need of change, as international measures of student performance place us behind countries like South Korea and Finland in math, reading, and science performance. But faith-based instruction is seldom singled out as part of the problem.

Earlier this year, Naftuli Moster of the New York Daily News drew attention to the plight of young Jewish boys attending yeshivas instead of public schools. According to Moster, nearly 50,000 yeshiva students in the New York City area “are not being taught science, history, and geography among other subjects,” even though the NY State Department of Education “requires non-public schools to teach a variety of subjects, including English, math, science, history, geography, art and more.” Misinformation and omission of subject matter are problems not just relegated to New York or to yeshivas.

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State Legislator Wants to Spend $100,000 from University of Tennessee to Buy “In God We Trust” Bumper Stickers

by Hemant Mehta at Patheos

For the past year, whenever fire department officials and police chiefs have put “In God We Trust” decals on their vehicles, they’ve gone out of their way to explain how the message is totally not an endorsement of Christianity, adding that the stickers are privately funded, anyway.

Now wait till you hear what’s going on in Tennessee.

House Bill 2248, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Micah Van Huss, would strip $100,000 a year from the University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion— which is all the state funding they get.

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Transgender U.S. Army Vet Plans to Sue Barber Who Refused to Cut His Hair For “Religious” Reasons

by Sam Levin at The Guardian

A California transgender man plans to take legal action against a barbershop after the owner refused to give the customer a haircut, stating that he only serves “men” due to his religious beliefs.

Kendall Oliver – a US army sergeant who identifies as a transgender man and uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they” – said a business called The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga in southern California refused to give them a haircut this week, saying the shop doesn’t offer cuts to “women”.

Oliver said the rejection was painful and insulting to LGBT people, and legal experts say the denial of service was also a clear violation of California anti-discrimination laws.

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Sam Harris Has a Cringeworthy Conversation with Omer Aziz

by Sam Harris for his Waking Up Podcast

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris talks to Omer Aziz about Islam, Islamism, free speech, and related topics.

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