On Muslims' agenda: Fight US proposals to ban Sharia law

Mar 27, 2017 8
FILE - In this March 21, 2013 file photo, Montana state Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell speaks on the house floor in Helena, Montana. Regier, now a state senator, has proposed a bill poised to clear the state legislature in March 2017, which would forbid the use of religious and foreign laws in state courts that don't grant the same rights and privileges as the state or U.S. constitutions. While the legislation does not specifically mention Sharia law, both supporters and opponents refer to them as "Sharia law bills." Sharia law is what governs Islamic societies. (Eliza Wiley/The Independent Record via AP)

FILE – In this March 21, 2013 file photo, Montana state Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell speaks on the house floor in Helena, Montana. Regier, now a state senator, has proposed a bill poised to clear the state legislature in March 2017, which would forbid the use of religious and foreign laws in state courts that don’t grant the same rights and privileges as the state or U.S. constitutions. While the legislation does not specifically mention Sharia law, both supporters and opponents refer to them as “Sharia law bills.” Sharia law is what governs Islamic societies. (Eliza Wiley/The Independent Record via AP)  (The Associated Press)

American Muslims complain that bills to prevent the use of Islamic code in courts are frivolous measures meant to spread fears and sow suspicion of Islam.

But supporters argue the proposals aren’t overtly anti-Muslim and are needed to safeguard constitutional rights for average Americans.

Montana state Sen. Keith Regier says his proposal would treat all religious codes and foreign laws equally. It is poised to clear the state legislature this month,

Muslim leaders say the bills are among a range of proposals and decisions they’re gearing up to fight this year. They maintain the bills don’t serve any practical purpose.

John Robbins is executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says the bills are “a stupid solution to a nonexistent problem.”

Police: 1 dead, 5 injured in central Florida shooting

Mar 27, 2017 9

Investigators say one person is dead and five others — including two young children — are being treated for injuries following a shooting in central Florida.

Sanford police spokeswoman Bianca Gillet tells local news outlets that four people were shot in a house following what appears to be a domestic violence incident early Monday. She says two innocent bystanders were also shot in another location in Sanford, which is northeast of Orlando.

She says the children are ages 7 and 8, and that all five shooting victims are in critical condition.

Gillet says a police officer heard the shots at the second location and was able to capture the suspect. A weapon was found.

The names of the shooting victims haven’t been released.

No further details were immediately available.

Severe storms in forecast for US much of this week

Mar 27, 2017 9

The springtime severe weather season is ramping up with damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes in the forecast nearly every day this week, including in parts of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee on Monday.

A day earlier, the same storm system swept through parts of Oklahoma and Texas, dropping softball-sized hailstones near Dallas. A tornado was reported Sunday in Ada, Oklahoma, though no substantial damage was reported.

Forecasters with the Storm Prediction Center say damaging winds and large hail are the biggest threats Monday, particularly in western Kentucky, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee, including the Memphis and Nashville areas.

On Tuesday, parts of central Texas and southern Oklahoma are in the crosshairs for bad weather, while Wednesday’s forecast takes aim at east Texas, Arkansas, and northwest Louisiana.

Sunday’s severe weather happened as residents in the Deep South cleared branches and worked to restore power from earlier weekend storms.

A tornado destroyed four mobile homes and damaged others near Cato, Arkansas, late Friday night. In northwest Louisiana, sheriff’s officials said a church was destroyed by an apparent tornado, though no injuries were reported.

Central Florida shootings kill 1, wound 5, including bystanders

Mar 27, 2017 7

A series of shootings Monday in Sanford, Fla., killed at least one person and wounded five others critically, including two children, police said.

The shooting appeared to start with a domestic incident early in the morning before the suspect burst out of a house and shot two bystanders at a second location, police spokeswoman Bianca Gillet told Fox 35. She said police caught the suspect, but did not immediately name that person.

The two children wounded are 7 and 8, Gillet added.

An officer heard the shots at the second scene, caught the suspect and found a weapon, according to police.

Sanford is a few miles northeast of Orlando.

Click for more from Fox 35.

ACLU battles Georgia over toddler's last name of 'Allah'

Mar 27, 2017 6

A civil rights group is suing Georgia over the state’s refusal to allow a couple to officially name its 22-month-old child “Allah.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed the lawsuit recently in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk.

At issue is the child’s proposed last name of Allah.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://bit.ly/2nXQe5J ) that Georgia Department of Public Health lawyers say state law requires a baby’s surname to be either that of the father of the mother for the initial birth record.

State officials say the child’s name — ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah — should either be Handy, Walk or a combination of the two.

Vets treating dog whose snout was bound with hair tie

Mar 27, 2017 7

Officials say veterinarians are treating a Yorkshire Terrier mix that was dropped off at Florida animal clinic with its mouth bound tightly with an elastic hair tie.

Paws 2 Help founder Eve Van Engel tells the Palm Beach Post (http://pbpo.st/2nstKZr ) that two women dropped the dog named Pixie off at a clinic near West Palm Beach on Sunday.

She says the dog has a ¾-inch-deep gash between her eyes and nose.

Van Engel says the women gave conflicting stories about who tied the dog’s mouth shut. She says animal control officials had not filed an animal cruelty report by Sunday.

In South Carolina on Friday, a man was sentenced to five years in prison for wrapping electrical tape around a dog’s muzzle to stop her from barking.

Zoo Knoxville investigates how 33 of its animals turned up dead

Mar 27, 2017 5

Thirty-three reptiles were found dead last week at a Tennessee zoo, and officials there say they have no clues yet about how it happened.

Zoo Knoxville told local news outlets that nearly all of the dead animals were snakes. They were all found dead in the reptile area.

Surviving animals were removed and given oxygen.

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Zoo officials have stopped using the reptile area for animals while the deaths are investigated, the AP reports.

Zoo Knoxville President and CEO Lisa New calls the deaths a “devastating and catastrophic loss.”

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Phil Colclough, the zoo’s director of animal collections, says tests being conducted include checking for harmful gases in the building and for mechanical errors on thermostats.

“These animals were important ambassadors who helped so many people understand the role snakes and lizards play in the balance of nature,” New said in a statement, per the Knoxville News Sentinel

Click for more from Newser.

Poisoned hot dogs making pets sick, Wisconsin police warn

Mar 27, 2017 7

Somebody has been dropping hot dogs with a poisonous substance inside, which has made dogs sick in a western Wisconsin town, police announced, urging people to be on the lookout for a possible suspect.

Evidence showed that person was cutting up the hot dogs, adding an unknown substance, then wrapping up the food with dental floss before tossing it in people’s yards in Lake Hallie. Police got a series of phone calls about the crime, Fox 9 reported.

“If you happen to see more of this type of activity, please DO NOT let your animals ingest it and report it immediately,” officers wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Police also released a couple of blurry photos of the possible suspect, taken from a trail camera.

It’s not clear exactly how many dogs have become sick.

Lake Hallie is a 90-minute drive east of Minneapolis.

Click for more from Fox 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Oklahoma officer dies after shootout

Mar 27, 2017 3

A 22-year-old Oklahoma officer died Monday after a shootout during a traffic stop, police said.

Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said officer Justin Terney died after undergoing surgery overnight.

The suspect in Terney’s death also was struck by gunfire. Kidney says that man remained hospitalized for his wounds.

Police said the traffic stop happened at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Tecumseh, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. Tecumseh police say the suspect ran away from the officer after the traffic stop and later opened fire after the officer used a stun gun.

Iowa State class assignment: Imagine 9/11 from terrorist's perspective

Mar 27, 2017 8

9/11 was bad. But let’s pretend it wasn’t.

That’s the challenge some International Studies students at Iowa State University faced in an assignment obtained by The College Fix.

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“Write a paper that gives a historical account of 911 from the perspective of the terrorist network,” the project rundown stated. “In other words, how might Al-Qaeda or a non-Western historian describe what happened.”

The university defended the proposal for the 500-word minimum essay.

“As you can see, the assignment was in no way an attempt to diminish the tragic events of September 11, 2001,” an ISU spokesperson told The College Fix. “Nor was it designed to support the goals of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

The spokesperson added: “This is similar to the vital work being performed in our nation’s diplomatic and intelligence operations, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, or the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.”