Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Far too many parents are now being forced to choose between remaining in the place they have long called home or packing up, selling their homes, and relocating to another state to keep their families safe. The extremism that defined our legislative session is not limited to Florida. It is a national tragedy. Politicians pushing attacks on transgender people have now spread their approach to other states, and to the nation's capital.
Politicians like DeSantis are joining forces with special interest groups to exploit transgender children—and increasingly, adults—as a scapegoat to serve their cynical ambitions. Officials in Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, among other states, have spread the dangerous lie that the biggest threat to the safety of American families is LGBTQ people. As next year's presidential elections get closer, these purveyors of hate seem to hope that this lie will be powerful enough to win the White House.
As a parent and an advocate for LGBTQ people in Florida for years, I know that targeting kids and marginalized groups to score points with far-right voters isn't a new strategy. For many families, however, this year feels different.
Parents and their children have endured months of sleepless nights and traumatic political hearings. In the face of these unprecedented attacks, families in Florida have risen to the challenge with remarkable resilience. They've shown up with hope and conviction every time they're called upon to drive long hours or walk through hostile protests to share heartbreaking testimony at the statehouse. The tearful father who "didn't plan to speak" at a legislative hearing, only to deliver a powerful rebuke of the transphobia being spewed from GOP lawmakers. The mother who courageously shared what the state forcibly outing her young child would do to their family.
Throughout the session, the advocates I work with have poured themselves into organizing to ensure as many families as possible can feel seen, supported, and safe. We've even taken the extraordinary step of issuing a travel advisory helping families nationwide weigh risks for their families if they travel or relocate to Florida.
Despite this outcry, politicians continued to drive legislation blocking parents and health care providers from connecting young people with gender-affirming care approved by every major medical association. And make no mistake, the denial of care is not limited to young people: adults are effectively being forcibly detransitioned by our state government. The GOP majority has rubber-stamped every bill DeSantis prioritized. They passed bills barring children from using bathrooms at school, turning every school day into a source of anxiety, discomfort, and shame. They censored teachers and forced them to mislead their students about what has happened in this country. They even threatened to break up families and shatter custody agreements.
Florida advocates and families are still reeling from these attacks. We'll catch our breath, and we'll keep fighting, but we need more allies to step up and join us if we're going to turn the tide nationwide. As DeSantis takes his platform on a cross country tour, we should be aware of the very real threat his tactics pose to everyone in this country.
In April, a group called “People of the Cause” started spreading rumors that the long-awaited Imam al-Mahdi will appear at the Kufa mosque, at a time which coincided with the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s religious retreat at that mosque. The claims by the group that Sadr was the promised one enraged him, prompting him to announce the freezing of his Sadrist Movement for a year.
On Sunday, Iraq’s judiciary announced in a statement that Baghdad’s al-Karkh court sentenced 51 of the members of the group to one year in prison, and the leader of the group to two years.
According to the statement from the judicial council, the leader of the group recruited a large number of youth and released many statements as well as speeches to convince his followers that he was the Angel Jibrail (Gabriel) who came down from the heavens, and that he had been tasked with announcing the appearance of the long-awaited Mahdi.
According to the judge who issued the ruling, the man had attracted young people to join his group by issuing statements, making speeches, and publishing books including one called "Lights on the Mahdi's Way."
The man created social media accounts to convince people of his beliefs, and reportedly attracted many followers by claiming he was the Angel Gabriel, tasked by God with announcing the coming of the Mahdi.
In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Gabriel is believed to be an archangel with the power to announce God’s will to men, and the Mahdi is a messianic figure in Islamic eschatology, especially revered by Shia Muslims.
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