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President Donald Trump's administration announced on Wednesday that it will no longer bar schools from discriminating against transgender students, rescinding a policy put in place by the previous administration.
"The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue. The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment."
In May, under President Barack Obama, the departments of Education and Justice issued guidance mandating that any school that receives federal money must treat a student's gender identity as his or her sex. Schools, for example, would therefore have to allow transgender individuals to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.
The federal government said at the time that transgender students were covered under Title IX, the statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. This interpretation had been on hold, however, after more than a dozen states sued the Obama administration and a judge issued an injunction in August.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was reportedly against rescinding the order and initially resisted signing off on it, but Sessions pushed her to do so because both departments had to agree in order to move forward.
In a statement Wednesday, DeVos said she considered protecting all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, "not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America."
"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find ― and in many cases have found ― solutions that protect all students," she added.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued during his press briefing earlier Wednesday that Title IX does not apply to transgender issues because there was no discussion of gender identity when the statute was passed in 1972. Judges and justices, however, often interpret laws and the Constitution to apply to new issues that arise.
Spicer also said there were no disagreements between DeVos and Sessions.
The Trump administration's announcement is the latest in its shift away from the protection of transgender rights that became a legacy of the Obama era. The new administration also recently announced it would not appeal the August ruling. Under Obama, the Justice Department tried to argue that the ruling should appeal only to the states that were part of the suit rather than to all states.
Trump has tried to portray himself as a defender of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, pledging in his Republican National Convention speech that he would protect its members from terrorist attacks. The president has said, however, that he does not support marriage equality even though he considers the issue settled law because the Supreme Court ruled on the matter. During the campaign, Trump said he supported a North Carolina law that barred cities from putting protections for LGBTQ individuals in place. His administration has also been considering at least two anti-LGBTQ executive orders.
Spicer said Tuesday that the president considered transgender rights to be "a states' rights issue and not one for the federal government."
"I find it obscene that Mr. Spicer would characterize the well-being, the health and the very safety of transgender young people as an issue of states' rights," responded Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. "The fact is that no child in America should have their rights subject to their zip code."
Transgender students experience a significant degree of bullying in school.
The majority of respondents to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey who were out or perceived as being transgender while in school (K-12) reported being verbally harassed (54 percent), physically attacked (24 percent) or sexually assaulted (13 percent) because they were transgender.
"I worry that in the backlash and response, people are forgetting that these are children who fundamentally just need to go to school and have a right to be educated and not being able to use the bathroom that accords with their gender identity has profound consequences on their ability to actually receive an equal education. I feel like the human face of this has gotten lost in this," Vanita Gupta, who at the time was the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, told The Huffington Post in December.
The Trump administration's latest decision could also affect the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teenager in Virginia who sued his school for the right to use the boys bathroom. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on March 28, and the rescinding of the federal guidance could give the court an excuse to throw it back to the lower court.
LGBTQ advocates emphasized Wednesday that even though the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration's Title IX guidance, the legal foundation that interpretation was built upon is still solid.
"While it's disappointing to see the Trump administration revoke the guidance, the administration cannot change what Title IX means," said Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who is lead counsel for Grimm. "When it decided to hear Gavin Grimm's case, the Supreme Court said it would decide which interpretation of Title IX is correct, without taking any administration's guidance into consideration. We're confident that that the law is on Gavin's side and he will prevail just as he did in the Fourth Circuit."
Ryan Reilly contributed reporting.
This story has been updated to reflect the administration's official announcement of the policy change.
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More rain is on the horizon for soggy Ventura County this week with the arrival of a large storm system expected to wreak havoc in Northern California.
"Northern California will be getting the bulk of the next system," said meteorologist Curt Kaplan with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "We're just getting the tail-end of it."
The county is expected to receive a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of rainfall, with up to 1.5 inches in the western mountains between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, according to Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the weather service.
The first storm system is expected to arrive early Monday morning with a 70 percent chance of rain, according to weather service forecasts. The chance of precipitation drops to 40 percent in the afternoon as the storm leaves the area.
Forecasts anticipate a second storm system from Monday night through Tuesday morning. The rain will slowly taper off Tuesday until the chance of precipitation drops to 20 percent late in the day, according to the forecast.
Highs are expected to be in the lower to mid-60s through Wednesday, while low temperatures will range between the mid-40s and mid-50s.
"Overall we'll have a nice cool weather pattern for the week, with a few storm systems coming through," Kaplan said.
Another weak rain pattern is expected Wednesday before returning to dry weather on Thursday and Friday. A possible rain system could take place Saturday and Sunday, but forecast models are unsure of the severity this far out, he said.
In anticipation of the heavy rain up north, the Ventura County Fire Department was expected to deploy a team of up to ten firefighters Sunday night to provide swift-water rescue help along with firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said spokesman Steve Swindle.
The weather service plans to issue a high surf advisory for the upcoming storms. In addition, people will need to be careful when they're driving, Bartling said.
"Mud and rock slides come down after the rain," Bartling said. "So keep your eyes open."
Ahead of the storm, authorities remind motorists to slow down, leave enough room to come to a complete stop on slick roads and turn on headlights when the windshield wipers are in operation.
The upcoming rain continues a weather pattern seen over the weekend, which featured some of the heaviest rainfall for the region in years. Rain totals by the National Weather Service for Thursday through Saturday ranged from 2.32 inches to 10.13 inches with most of the rain falling Friday.
Staff writer Jean Cowden Moore contributed to this report.
QUESTION ABOUT KILLING AND VIOLENCE IN THE NAME OF RELIGION!
AsSalamu Alaikum Br. Najam,
My question is about killing and sectarian and religious violence against innocent people in Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Myanmar, Kashmir, and now in the USA and Canada and many other places.
Please answer in the light of Qura'n and Sunnah.
AlHamdu Lillaah, and peace and blessings be upon last and final messenger and prophet of Allaah, his family, his companions, those who came after them and all those who follow the correct guidance and refrain from the deliberate disobedience of His ordained limits.
Regardless of the faith, creed or any other difference, all people have the fundamental right to life, safety and security of person and property, religious practices and sentiments.
Any act of violence, harm and killing of innocent people is against all divine teachings, and those involved in such acts are not the true believers of faith they proclaim.
There are many ayat of Glorious Qura'n and verses of all other divine annunciations and the practices of all Prophets (peace be upon them) strictly prohibiting, killing or harming any innocent person, regardless of his (her) faith.
In Chapter An-Nisa (4:92), Almighty Allaah ordained that: "It is not for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake; and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, (it is ordained that) he must set free a believing servant and a compensation (blood-money) be given to the deceased's family, unless they forfeit it. If the deceased belonged to people at war with you, and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing servant (is ordained); and if he belonged to people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, compensation (blood-money) must be paid to his family, and a believing servant must be freed. And whosoever finds this (the penance of freeing a servant) beyond his means; he must fast for two consecutive months and seek repentance from Allaah. And Allaah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise."
In Chapter Al-Maidah (5:32), Almighty Allaah says: "……if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, and or spread mischief in the land - it is considered as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits in the land!"
In Chapter Al-Anaam (6:151), Almighty Allaah says: "Say (O Mohammed): Come, I will narrate what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join nothing in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to shameful sins, whether committed openly or covertly and kill not anyone whom Allaah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to due process of law). This He has commanded you that you may understand."
Dispatching Muslim forces to fight the enemy, Sayedina Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (RA) ordered the commanders and said: "Do not to betray or be treacherous or vindictive. Don't be spiteful or unjust. Do not mutilate the corpses. Do not kill the children, the aged or the women. Do not kill or fight the enemy until they are ready to fight you. Do not cut or bum palm trees, or fruitful trees. Don't cut a dead tree if it has a green leaf on it. Don't slay a sheep, a cow or camel except for what's enough for your food. You will come across people who confined themselves to worship in hermitages, leave them alone to what they devoted themselves for."
These heinous crimes of oppression, suppression, suicide bombing, destroying property and killing of innocent are the results of anger generated and inflamed by the malicious political and religious rhetoric of so-called "leaders."
Fact remains that arrogance, ignorance, lack of education and jobs; poverty and impatience during hard times make people react brutally. The criminal elements of the society and the blind followers of religious and political leaders take law into their hands and evil acts are committed only against the feeble that can't stand up against the mob.
No matter, how angry we get in any situation; The Most Beneficent Allaah teaches in Chapter Aal Imran (3:134) Almighty Allaah says: "...who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good-doers)."
In Chapter Al-Maidah (5:8), Almighty Allaah says: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allaah as truthful witnesses (in beliefs and actions); and let not the animosity and rancor of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety; and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Well-Acquainted with what you do."
In Chapter Al-Aaraaf (7:199-200), Almighty Allaah says: "Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the insane (don't follow the evil advice). And if an evil whisper (thought) comes to you from Shaitan (Satan), then seek protection with Allaah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower."
In Chapter Fussilat (41:34-35), Allaah The Almighty says: "The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one, which is better (Allaah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. However, none is granted it (this excellent quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great share (of happiness in the Hereafter for a high moral character) in this world."
In Chapter Ash-Shura (42:42-45), Almighty Allaah says: "The way (blame) is only against those who oppress men and wrongfully rebel in the earth, for such there will be a painful torment. And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things ordained by Allaah. And whomsoever Allaah sends astray, for him, there is no Wali (protector, helper or guardian) after Him. And you will see the Zalimun (oppressors): when they behold the torment, they will say: "Is there any way of return (to the world)? And you will see them brought forward to Hell, humbled by disgrace, (and) looking with stealthy glance. And those who believe will say: "Verily, the losers are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, the Zalimun (oppressors) will be in a lasting torment."
Saheeh Al-Bukhari quoted Sayedina Abdullaah Ibn Omar (RA) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A believer continues to guard his Faith (and thus hopes for Allaah's Mercy) as long as he does not shed blood unjustly."
Undoubtedly, all divine religions strictly forbids killing of innocents. There can't be any justification to oppress or kill any human because of the person's faith, belief or creed, let alone an individual or a group attack, destroy property, places of worship, schools, seminaries, and injure or kills anybody using the name of The Almighty God.
Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim quoted the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allaah is not kind to him who is not compassionate to people."
Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim quoted Sayedah Aisha (RA) that the prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allaah is Forbearer and loves forbearance in all matters."
Saheeh Muslim quoted Sayedina Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) that the prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who is deprived of forbearance and gentleness is, in fact, deprived of all good."
Sunan Abi Dawood and Tirmidhi Ash-Shareef quoted the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: "Those who are kind and considerate to Allaah's creatures, Allaah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allaah may be kind to you."
The prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Anyone who has been in a position of authority (power) over people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he dealt with people) loosens his chains or tyranny (he practiced) brings him to destruction."
In another Hadeeth the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) gave the severe warning and said: "He who harms (let alone kills) a non-Muslim citizen, I will be his adversary on the Day of Judgment.
Those who claim themselves to be believers on God and followers of His Prophet (peace be upon them) must first read and understand how Prophets dealt with the people under their authority. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) wrote a letter to the Christian subjects of his nation.
The following English translation is taken from the book, "Muslim History – 570 – 1950 C.E" by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation P.O. Box 8231 Gaithersburg, 20898-8231.
"This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily, I, the servants, the helpers and my followers defend them (Christians), because Christians are my citizens; and by Allaah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world.)" (End Quote).
I am a sinful follower and cannot comment or add to what the "mercy to mankind and all things exist" has already declared.
I shed tears whenever I hear, read or watch a news item regarding some lost souls stupid arrogant followers encouraged by their vicious "leader(s)" to hurt, burn, kill and cause disturbance using the name of nationalism, God or any of His Prophet.
I hope this answers your question. I request you to forward this reply to others as you see befitting.
May Almighty Allaah continue to guide, bless, protect and forgive you and your loved ones.
AND ONLY ALLAAH KNOWS BEST.
Thank you, WaSalamu Alaikum,