Day: July 7, 2017


Will new gender-neutral licenses fly with TSA?

Oregon followed the District of Columbia’s lead this week in starting to offer gender-neutral licenses — but whether the “non-binary” IDs will pass muster with the Transportation Security Administration is up in the air. 

The TSA for years has been tightening ID standards as part of a post-9/11 security push. 

Asked about the changes in Oregon and D.C., TSA assistant press secretary Michelle Negron acknowledged policies allowing residents to list a gender other than male or female are “relatively new.” 

“We’re working to develop guidance,” she told Fox News. In the meantime, she said they do not anticipate changes to screening procedures. She said officers will remain “focused on ensuring that the ID presented is not fraudulent and that the traveler matches the photo on the ID and name on boarding pass.” 

TSA right now is focused on getting states into compliance with the REAL ID Act, a 2005 law setting minimum standards for state-issued licenses and identification cards that can be used to access federal agencies and airports. On Jan. 22, 2018, the TSA will no longer accept any ID that does not meet those standards. 

Oregon officials are confident those who choose not to identify their gender will not have problems flying.

“At this point, we don’t expect any travel issues, but this is new territory for the whole country,” said David House, Oregon DMV spokesman.

D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau consulted with the National Center for Transgender Equality when drafting her bill, with the express purpose of ensuring compliance with REAL ID.

But Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law group, argues federal law under REAL ID “specifically requires gender” be listed on any identification documents, in turn making the D.C. and Oregon IDs invalid.

Part of the confusion results from a 2008 regulation issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The rule states DHS would “leave the determination of gender up to the States since different States have different requirements” for when “a transgendered individual should be identified as another gender.”

Oregon began planning to move to non-binary IDs in June 2016 after a state court ruled in favor of a resident’s request to change gender from female to “non-binary.”

California and New York are poised to make similar changes. On May 31, California’s state Senate passed the Gender Recognition Act, which would add a third gender — “non-binary” — to male and female on official state documents. It is under consideration in the state Assembly.

DMV officials in D.C. and Oregon notified the federal government and local law enforcement and corrections agencies of their plans prior making the changes, but neither received feedback from the TSA. 

Hayley Gorenberg, general counsel for the Lambda Legal Foundation, said there shouldn’t be issues since the U.S. recognizes foreign passports with multiple gender categories. Pakistan recently joined Canada, India and Australia in offering multiple gender options.

“The fact that the U.S. government accepts and has no issues with foreign passports [that have alternate gender categories] shows that it can function fine,” Gorenberg told Fox News.

“These IDs more accurately reflect the individual and are consistent with international airline standards,” she said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which develops standards for the production of passports, has allowed an “X” field to be used since 1996.

Potentially complicating matters for the federal government is a pending lawsuit filed by Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran and intersex person.

Since 2014, Zzyym has been trying to obtain a U.S. passport for use traveling overseas, but the State Department has repeatedly rejected Zzyym’s application for an “intersex” passport.

The department permits individuals who transition from one gender to another to amend their passport to reflect their sex, but does not recognize an individual who is born with both male and female characteristics. 

Lambda’s Gorenberg told Fox News the case boils down to a matter of fairness and is urging the court to act expeditiously. Lamba Legal is representing Zzyym in the lawsuit against the State Department.

In its latest application denial, the State Department informed Zzyym they were unaware of “generally accepted medical standards” for “evaluating a transition to any sex other than male or female.”

On June 26, a federal court in Colorado granted Zzyym’s request to have the lawsuit reopened.

Jay Wu, of the National Center for Transgender Equality, which helped write the D.C. law, said he hopes “that developments like the new D.C. and Oregon policies will encourage more institutions to treat everyone with respect regardless of gender.”

Even those states that do not move toward gender-neutral IDs will have to consider how to handle D.C. and Oregon licenses.

Brandy Brubaker, media liaison for the DMV in neighboring Virginia, said IDs like the new D.C. license represent “an emerging issue” about which the state is “researching and seeking guidance.”

As far as Oregon licenses, House noted bars and other establishments often reject out-of-state IDs for a myriad of reasons. 

Setting aside questions about the non-binary license option, Oregon is moving to get into compliance with REAL ID by the end of the year, after having gotten an extension. Only two states — Missouri and Minnesota — are presently considered out of compliance with that 2005 law and did not get an extension.

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ObamaCare problems deepen, as Senate bill sidelined – VIDEO: Obamacare: Co-ops, premiums worry consumers

As Senate Republicans try to revise and resuscitate their alternative to the Affordable Care Act, issues with the current law of the land are only getting worse as co-ops crash, insurers pull out of individual markets and premiums spike to double-digit highs.

Democrats have decried the plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare and instead have pushed to patch up problems with the malfunctioning model. Even the law’s namesake, former President Barack Obama, has admitted the ACA could use some tweaking.

In a recent Facebook post, Obama said the law wasn’t perfect but “represented a significant step forward for America.” President Trump has called it a “disaster” and claims every other nation in the world has a better system in place.


The competing – and often contradictory – narratives and statistics on health insurance complicate efforts to dissect the data. But the overall trend lines still appear to be going in the wrong direction, upping the pressure on Congress to find a fix.

“ObamaCare is absolutely imploding,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” 

One glaring symptom of the ACA’s challenges has been the fate of consumer operated and oriented plans, or co-ops. These small nonprofit insurers were created to boost competition, expand the number of health insurance providers available in rural areas and in turn lead to lower prices for coverage.

But that’s not how it’s played out.

In 2014, there were 23 co-ops operating across the country. By 2015, all had posted annual losses, according to the National Alliance of State Health Co-Ops.

Since then, financial insolvency has claimed all but four.

The latest co-op casualty is Minuteman Health.

The company, which has around 37,000 customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, called it quits in late June. (The company plans to reopen as a for-profit in January 2018.)

CEO Tom Policelli blamed the exit on a provision in the ACA that requires insurers with healthier customers to make payments to insurers with sicker customers. Policelli called the risk adjustment program “highly volatile.”

Larger insurers have also begun to bolt certain states, leading to reduced options for consumers in the individual market. 

A June Kaiser Family Foundation analysis estimates 38 out of 3,143 counties – or about 1.2 percent – could be at risk of having no insurer on the marketplace in 2018. This year, roughly a third of counties have access to just one insurer on the marketplace, according to the report. 

That’s a hard fall for the ACA, which touted an average of five insurers participating in each state ACA marketplace in 2014. In 2015, that average bumped up to six insurers per state, ranging from one in West Virginia to 16 in New York, according to Kaiser. Things took a turn in 2016 following the failure of several co-ops, which brought the average down to 5.6 per state. In fiscal 2017, big insurance losses led to high-profile exits dragging the average down even more to 4.3.

The decision by health insurance giants Aetna and Humana to pull out of some state exchanges has rattled other insurers and raised concerns over the stability of the individual market. 

In June, Anthem announced it would pull out of Ohio’s marketplace leaving some counties with no insurers. Anthem’s exit was particularly bruising because the state had been one of the most competitive marketplaces in the country. In 2016, 17 insurers sold plans in Ohio.

Anthem didn’t mince words about why it was leaving. The company cited a lack of certainty around billions of federal dollars in subsidies they thought were coming their way as well as a lack of “overall predictability.”

Under ObamaCare, insurance subsides are doled out though refundable tax credits for individuals making between $16,000 and $47,000 per year as well as through cost-sharing reductions, where additional subsidies are paid by the government directly to insurers to help lower the amount customers pay for deductibles and co-pays.

The Trump administration has been vague about whether they’ll pay and has said the president could decide to nix the subsidies whenever he wanted, creating more market confusion. 

During the campaign season, Republicans seized on the uncertainty and cited rising insurance premiums as the primary reason ObamaCare needs to go. It’s a fight that continues to this day.

Unlike candidate Trump who made bold statements about what he would do to get rid of ObamaCare and the speed with which he would do it, President Trump and his administration have waffled on ways to stabilize the insurance markets. The president even has suggested a few times letting it implode.

Trump tweeted “Death spiral!” following Aetna’s announcement that it would pull out of the Virginia ACA exchange in 2018. When Humana announced its exit, Trump claimed, “ObamaCare continues to fail.”

The comments did little to soothe growing concerns of instability.  

Some insurers still willing to offer plans under ObamaCare have braced themselves for financial hits by hiking premiums – though how much varies.

According to Kaiser, customers in Phoenix, Ariz., are facing a 145 percent increase whereas in Providence, R.I., customers could see a 14 percent decrease. 

But those numbers could change for the worse. 

A lot of what happens next with ObamaCare depends on if the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress – let alone Republicans and Democrats – can get on the same page.

Industry watchers warn that until the White House and Capitol Hill can present a united front, even more dramatic premium hikes will be passed on to customers. 

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Protesters demand rehiring of teacher fired after 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' appearance

Activists are imploring New Jersey lawmakers to demand a college rehire an instructor who was fired last month after officials said she made racially insensitive remarks during a Fox News interview.

About a dozen protesters, including members of Black Lives Matter, showed up at a Thursday night meeting of county legislators to discuss former Essex County College adjunct professor Lisa Durden, who also attended.


Durden presented the board with a petition of 2,500 signatures supporting her, reported. The legislators, known as freeholders, do not have hiring or firing authority at the college, although they appoint the college’s trustees.

The board will ensure the college knows about the petition, Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake said.

The school has defended its decision to fire Durden, with college President Anthony Munroe saying “racism cannot be fought with more racism.”

Essex County College fired Durden in June after she made the remarks on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” defending a Black Lives Matter event that only invited black people.

Durden said, “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day Celebration.”

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Turkey confiscates some 50 religious properties from Christian minority

Tensions are high among Turkey’s oldest indigenous community over fears that a recent land grab by the government could lead to its cultural extinction.

Turkish authorities recently seized about 50 properties – monasteries, cemeteries and churches – that belonged to the Syriac Orthodox Church, claiming the ownership deeds had lapsed.

“We went to sleep one night, and we woke up the next morning to see what was ours the night before no longer belonged to us,” Kuryakos Ergun, chairman of the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation, said to Fox News. Turkey’s Christians “have never gone through as difficult of a legal period as they are now.”

Church and community leaders in the southeastern region known as Tur Abdin, which translates to “The Mountain of the Servants of God,” say that among the properties seized were two functioning monasteries built some 1,500 years ago and that their loss will be a crushing blow their culture’s survival.

“Our churches and monasteries are what root Syriacs in these lands; our existence relies on them,” Ergun said to Al-Monitor. “They are our history and what sustains our culture.”

“While the country should be protecting this heritage, we instead see our culture is at risk.”

Officials in both Turkey’s embassy in Washington and New York City consulate refused to comment on the matter.

Mor Gabriel – one of the world’s oldest working monasteries since it was started in the fifth century – filed an appeal against the confiscations, but it was rejected in May by a governmental commission tasked with liquidating the seized assets.

Ergun also said that they have already filed with the court for about 20 of the title deeds with plans to do so for the remaining 30.

“We have also filed appeals to the commission numerous times and taken witnesses. However, they told us that legally it was not possible to give it to us and that its transfer procedures to the Treasury had been completed,” he added.

Analysts say the move by Turkey’s government is part of a strategy.

“Erdogan’s government is working to consolidate power and control over the country, especially its restive southeastern region where Kurds and Christians make up large parts of the population,” Robert Nicholson, executive director of the Philos Project, an advocacy group focusing on Christian minorities in the Middle East, tells Fox News.

“In the case of the Syriac Christians, Erdogan is using legal pretexts to seize and redistribute lands and churches that have been owned by Christians for over a millennium.”

“Christians haven’t always faced pressure from the Turkish government or even from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party,” Nicholson added. “But Turkish politics are changing, and it’s still unclear how minority groups like the Syriacs will fare in the end.”

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @perrych

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FOX NEWS POLL First Lady Melania Trump's favorable ratings climb

As Melania Trump settles into her new role as first lady, a Fox News Poll shows a jump in her popularity. 

Fifty-one percent of voters view Melania Trump favorably.  That’s up 14 points since December and up 16 points from the first time the Fox News Poll asked about her last summer.  At that time, 35 percent viewed the wife of the controversial candidate favorably and 40 percent unfavorably (August 2016).  Twenty-four percent couldn’t rate her.

Today, 28 percent view her negatively, while one in five are unable to rate her (20 percent).


The First Lady enjoys a surge in favorability across the board; Republicans (+24), Democrats (+12), men (+17), women (+15), voters under age 45 (+18) and ages 45 and over (+16) all view her more positively than a year ago.

More men (55 percent) than women (48 percent) have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Trump.

And Republicans (82 percent) are more than three times as likely as Democrats (26 percent) to have a positive view.  Forty-three percent of independents like her.

The new First Lady, however, falls short of her predecessor Michelle Obama.  Around the same time in her husband’s presidency, a record high 73 percent of voters viewed Mrs. Obama favorably (April 2009).

President Donald Trump’s personal ratings are also up — a bit:  47 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him.  It was 44 percent in March and 38 percent just before November’s election.  His current rating matches a previous high set in December 2016.

More voters, however, view Trump unfavorably (51 percent).

Vice President Mike Pence gets net positive marks:  47 percent favorable vs. 42 percent unfavorable.

Meanwhile, leaders in the legislative branch are less popular.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (37 percent favorable vs. 45 percent unfavorable), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (33-50 percent), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (26-35 percent) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (25-41 percent) rate lower than the president, first lady and the vice president.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,017 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 25-27, 2017.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

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RUSSIAN TRANSLATION Moscow’s top envoy challenged over his version of Trump-Putin summit

While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson emerged from the sit-down between President Trump and Vladimir Putin claiming the U.S. president confronted the Russian leader on election meddling, it didn’t take long for Tillerson’s counterpart to provide Moscow’s version of events. 

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday that Trump had actually “accepted” Putin’s assurances that Moscow was not behind the meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump administration officials quickly pushed back, telling reporters at the G-20 summit in Germany that Lavrov’s account was not accurate. 

Lavrov’s account also would appear to deviate from what Tillerson told reporters in his off-camera press briefing.

Lavrov had stressed that Trump “heard President Putin stating clearly” that the interference allegations are “not true” and the “Russian government did not meddle.”

“President Trump, I’m sure, will either say [this] himself or Rex Tillerson [will], this campaign has acquired a rather strange character,” Lavrov said, according to a translation by Russia’s Sputnik News. “Because in the course of the months that these allegations have been around, not a single fact has been presented …”

Tillerson, though, told reporters in Friday’s briefing that Trump opened the meeting by addressing concerns of Russia’s alleged meddling in the presidential campaign, leading to a “robust” discussion.

“The president pressed Putin on multiple occasions—Putin denied involvement, as I believe he has done in the past,” Tillerson said. “They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.”

Tillerson added that both presidents “agreed” the issue was a “substantial hindrance” to the ability to move the relationship between the U.S. and Russia forward.

“The president was rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point,” Tillerson said. 

Russia has denied allegations of 2016 election meddling — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the accusations “absolutely groundless” earlier this year.

Trump, Putin, Tillerson and Lavrov were the only people in the room for the meeting, other than translators.

Lavrov described the meeting, as a whole, as “very productive,” touching on issues like cybersecurity, North Korea and Ukraine.

A centerpiece of the conversation was efforts in Syria, perhaps the most serious source of tensions between Washington and Moscow. Tillerson claimed the meeting yielded indications the two countries could, in fact, work together.

As the meeting was wrapping up, The Associated Press reported the U.S. and Russia reached an agreement for a cease-fire in southwest Syria, to take effect July 9. According to the AP, a separate deal to create “de-escalation zones” was brokered. Tillerson confirmed the agreement during the briefing.

“Do we have the same objections in mind? By and large, our objectives are exactly the same, but how we get there, we each have a view,” Tillerson said, adding “maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.”


Russia has backed Bashar Assad in Syria, while the U.S. has backed opposition forces for years. This conflict made Syria perhaps the toughest of many issues on the table for the highly anticipated talks Friday. As the two sat down, Trump said they’ve had “very, very good talks” that will continue. 

Tillerson did, however, confirm to reporters Friday that the Trump administration’s stance on the Assad regime is left unchanged.

“Our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the Assad family or the Assad regime, and we have made this clear to everyone,” Tillerson said. 

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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LACK OF REMORSE Grinning illegal immigrant charged with killing family

The illegal immigrant accused of stabbing to death her four children and husband in their Georgia home put on a bizarre show in court on Friday, smiling and posing for news cameras and even giving a double “thumbs up” gesture.

Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez, 33, whom local law enforcement identified as Isabel Martinez, entered the U.S. from Mexico illegally, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email to The Associated Press Friday. It’s unclear if the rest of her family came to the U.S. legally. 

Martinez appeared in her first court hearing on Friday after being charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

She denied legal representation, telling Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Michael Thorpeher that her attorney is the people and her faith. 

Martinez allegedly stabbed her children and husband early Thursday morning in her Loganville home, about 30 miles east of Atlanta, police said. She had called 911 to report the stabbing just before 5 a.m., Fox 5 Atlanta reported. 


Four children — Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, 7; Dillan Romero, 4; and Axel Romero, 2 — and their father, Martin Romero, 33, were found dead in the home. 

A fifth child, identified by family members as 9-year-old Diana, survived the stabbing with serious injuries. 

Martinez was immediately arrested and charged later that day. 

At the hearing, Martinez held her arms open and swayed them back and forth as Thorpe read the charges against her. She then pressed her hands together in the “prayer” position. 

Thorpe rebuked, saying: “Ma’am I’m going to ask you to cut out the displays for the camera. It’s probably not good or to your benefit.”


The motive for the deadly stabbing is still unclear. 

“What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand,” Gwinnett County police said in a statement. “This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community.”

Click here for more from Fox 5 Atlanta. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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EXPOSING LIBERAL LIE? Sheriff slams columnist for false traffic stop tale

A sheriff in Missouri is firing back at a now-suspended newspaper columnist who claimed to experience what “minority motorists” must feel when getting pulled over by cops, saying he was lucky he didn’t “get shot” during a recent traffic stop.

Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey has refuted a June 30 opinion column by longtime Columbia Daily Tribune columnist Bill Clark, who was stopped 10 days earlier for failing to use his turn signal. Clark, an 84-year-old white man, suggested in the column that he might’ve been pulled over because of his “liberal bumper stickers,” an obvious sign of an “aging hippie with a weed habit,” he claimed.

“I’m lucky I didn’t get shot,” Clark wrote. “Sirens wailed and when I stopped, two officers were out of the sheriff’s vehicle. When I reached over to turn off the radio and then take my wallet out of my pocket to produce the driver’s license and insurance card, I realized my hands were not at the top of my steering wheel. Danger lurked and official arrogance was to follow.”

Clark, who claimed he received a “good dose of arrogance” during the stop, said he understands how someone could lose respect for cops after the stop, saying his life “seemed to be in danger” during the interaction with two deputies.

“When you are in the shoes of the minority, you learn a lot more about their journey,” Clark wrote.

But a review of dashcam video told a different story, according to Carey, who contacted the newspaper’s managing editor, Charles Westmoreland, to disagree with Clark’s version of events. Carey also released the 11-minute video and penned an 1,800-word response to Clark’s column, blasting it as “sensationalism” and disputed the claims of “arrogance” on behalf of the deputies.

“In his column he indicates, ‘I’m lucky I didn’t get shot,’” Carey wrote. “There is never a weapon drawn, the deputies don’t take a position of cover, there are no loud verbal commands, no panic or anything else for that matter by the deputies. Would you agree this is sensationalism at its best? I say yes!”

Click for more from the New York Post.

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DANGEROUS RHETORIC? Muslim activist calls for 'jihad' against Trump

Controversial Muslim activist Linda Sarsour gave a fiery speech last weekend where she said fellow Muslim-Americans do not have to “assimilate” and blasted Trump administration policies, even suggesting that resisting those policies could count as a “form of jihad.”

Sarsour’s remarks came at the annual Islamic Society of North America convention in Illinois. Sarsour, who was a lead organizer in the Women’s March after President Trump’s inauguration, slammed the new administration, specifically referring to the president’s executive order to temporarily ban travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.  

“Why are we so afraid of this administration and the potential chaos that they will ensue on our community — and we already saw their potential when they come out every few weeks with Muslim ban one, Muslim ban two, Muslim ban three. They are relentless, they are persistent and consistent, and want to see how much we as a community can endure and want to see who our friends are and how hard we’re going to fight back against this administration,” Sarsour said, adding she is “outraged” when she “wakes up in the morning” and remembers “who is sitting in the White House.”

The Supreme Court decided last week that much of the ‘ban’ could be enforced, while the high court prepares to take up the case in October. 

Sarsour’s criticism went beyond the ban, as she blasted “fascists” in the White House. 

“I hope that we, when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad,” Sarsour said. “That we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America where you have fascists, white supremacists, and Islamaphobes reigning in the White House.”

The term ‘jihad’ can be defined and interpreted in different ways. According to Merriam-Webster, jihad can be defined “a holy war on behalf of Islam as a religious duty,” or the more innocuous “personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline.” The dictionary also defines jihad as “a crusade for a principle or belief.”


In an interview with The Washington Post on Friday, Sarsour said she was advocating “solely for peaceful, nonviolent dissent.” As Sarsour has faced some critical coverage for the speech, her Twitter page as of Friday was filled with tweets from defenders saying she only referred to jihad as a “struggle.”

Sarsour had been praised by the Obama administration for her advocacy work and had campaigned for Bernie Sanders. But she’s also faced criticism from women’s rights advocates for her defense of sharia law and other positions.

Further, she stirred more controversy in her speech last weekend by calling out her “favorite person in the room” — Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whom she described as a “mentor, motivator, and encourager.” Wahhaj appeared on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

In the speech, she said the “number 1, top priority” was to “protect and defend” the Muslim community and suggested assimilation should not be a goal. 

“It is not to assimilate and to please any other people or authority,” Sarsour said. “Our obligation is to our young people, and to our women, and to make sure our women are protected in our community and our top priority, even higher than those priorities is to please Allah, and only Allah.”

Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

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Maxim model's food fears

Alexis Ren may be best recognized for her massive social media following (9.4 million followers and counting on Instagram to be exact), but the renowned model insisted her life is anything, but glamorous.

The 20-year-old Maxim cover girl said she’s in a better place since opening up about her eating disorder.

“I’ve gone through a lot as far as health,” she explained. “I overworked myself to a point of malnourishment. I’m stronger, happier, and healthier than I’ve ever been… In the last six months I’ve opened up to my followers about my struggles in my day-to-day. I think being vulnerable to other humans is a form of strength.”

Back in April, the Los Angeles native confessed on Twitter she was in “a toxic state of mind,” suffered from food guilt, and over-exercise as a form of punishment. She was privately coping with the death of her mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 2014.

Ren relied on modeling to help her mask the pain, but she gained weight while abroad. Her modeling agency gently nudged her about the physical change.

“They were like, ‘You did gain weight and if you could start working out a little bit more…’ I just felt so out of control,” she told Cosmopolitan in May.

Then she met and fell in love with model Jay Alvarrez. The couple became famous by documenting their lives on YouTube, prompting her health to worsen.

“I was scared of food,” she admitted.

The couple confirmed their split last February. And fortunately, Ren got helped for her disorder. She’s now enjoying her blossoming career.

“People think I don’t have substance and I’m just another pretty face,” she told Maxim. “I have been through a lot of life experience for a 20-year-old. People tend to judge a book by its cover. I love being unexpected and gaining respect for who I am and not how I look.”

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