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Great Lakes naval center dismisses religious volunteers for minority faiths PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Social Action
Written by Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune   
Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Great Lakes Naval Training Center has dismissed a number of civilian volunteers who offered services for a handful of minority religious traditions, including Unitarian Universalism, the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Christian Science, Church of Christ and Earth-centered traditions, also called nature worship.

The ouster, conveyed to volunteers last month, echoed a similar expulsion last May in which Muslim leaders were dismissed. That decision was rescinded a month later, with a caveat that if uniformed personnel were available to lead, volunteers would be asked to step aside.

Critics of the latest decision, including leaders of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that in the past has sued the Pentagon for ignoring policies that ban mandatory religious practices, said Tuesday the dismissal trounces the recruits' constitutional rights.

"They're basically deciding who are the religious winners and who are the religious losers and desecrating religious protection," said Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. "This is absolutely establishing religion in direct denial of the First Amendment."

...

But not every religious volunteer affected by the policy change plans to fight the decision. Doug Marshall, 62, of Highland Park, said he enjoyed sharing Baha'i teachings with curious recruits, especially during such an intense time in their lives. He doesn't understand the Navy's motivation, but Baha'i teachings include respect for the government, so seeking court action is not likely, he said.

It was great while it lasted.

"We were their guest," he said. "We're always told to be obedient to our government, and the Navy is part of our government. It's their choice. It's the Navy's game. They invited us up there 12 or 15 years ago, whenever they started having it. It was great while it lasted."

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Selective Truths Revealed: The Case of Iranian Search Engines PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Bahais in Iran
Written by Kyle Bowen, Global voices   
Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Over the past few years, Iranian officials have championed national tech development projects (such as the National Information Network (SHOMA) and Iranian versions of Western services), while eschewing foreign platforms like Viber and WhatsApp.

One of the most recent examples of this dynamic can be found in the February 2015 launch of three Iranian search engines: Parsijoo, Gorgor and Yooz. While this was announced in February, it should be noted that Parsijoo was in fact launched a few years ago, and Yooz was launched in early 2010. Its unclear why the authorities are presenting them as new.

Government officials insist that Iranians can use domestic search engines without any disruption from the filtering system, regardless of what terms they search for. The authorities also maintain that these search engines can compete with Google and other Western alternatives.

The results on all of the Iranian search engines were overwhelmingly hostile to Bahais, with many referring to them as the misguided Bahai sect.

Small Medias latest report put these claims to the test. We picked six potentially keywords: sex, Bahai, Mir Hossein Mousavi, BBC Persian, Facebook, and VPN, and searched for them on the search engines mentioned above plus google. Heres what we found:

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Brokenhearted Baha'is: LGBT's Rejected by Their Church PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - The Subject of Boys
Written by BlogTalkRadio, Nicholas Snow Live, with Sean Rayshel   
Saturday, 18 April 2015

Check Out Current Events Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with NicholasSnowLive on BlogTalkRadio with Nicholas Snow Live! on BlogTalkRadio

 
MSU student shunned in Egypt wins coveted PD Soros Fellowship PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Bahais in Egypt
Written by Layne Cameron, Michigan State University   
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Raeuf Roushangar (L), an MSU graduate student studying biochemistry, has won a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. He is studying in the lab of George Mias, MSU biochemist and molecular biologist. Photo by Katie Stiefel

Raeuf Roushangar, a Michigan State University graduate student studying biochemistry, has won a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans – an honor that comes with up to $90,000 stipend.

Roushangar was one of 30 winners of the premier graduate school fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants. The recipients, chosen from a pool of 1,200 applicants, were selected for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic field.

While winning the award is a high achievement, what Roushangar had to overcome is equally praiseworthy. Roushangar was born in Oman, to an Iranian father and Egyptian mother, and grew up and attended high school in Cairo, Egypt.

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