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Campaign Rhetoric Has Muslim-Americans on Edge
TRENTON, N.J. - Muslim-Americans who sued the New York Police Department over a surveillance program launched after 9/11 are on edge over the call for more surveillance from some Republican presidential candidates.
     They say rhetoric from the campaign is recklessly playing on people's fears.
     Donald Trump has said law enforcement should keep close surveillance on mosques. He's also floated the idea of a database for tracking Muslims.
     Republican rival Ben Carson says any place where radicalization is going on should be monitored.
     Baher Azmy is an attorney representing Muslim-Americans in the NYPD suit. He and others say the rhetoric comes from ignorance and is scarring Muslims in the U.S.

Police: Postal Worker Harassed Muslim Woman in NYC
NEW YORK - New York City police say a postal worker bumped into and spit on a Muslim woman before threatening to burn down her place of worship.
     Thirty-four-year-old Dainton Coley was arrested Tuesday on aggravated harassment, menacing as a hate crime and child endangerment charges.
     Police say Coley approached two women wearing hijabs in front of a Brooklyn deli on Friday. Police say he bumped into a woman who was with her infant before spitting on her.
     They say he followed her and threatened to burn down her place of worship.

Ind. Governor Faces Lawsuit for Blocking Syrian Refugees
INDIANAPOLIS - A lawsuit challenging the Indiana governor's decision to stop state agencies from helping resettle Syrian refugees says that the action wrongly targets the refugees based on their nationality and violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
     The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration.
     It accuses Gov. Mike Pence of violating the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees to Indiana from other countries but not from Syria.
     The first-term Republican governor objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana following the deadly attacks in Paris.
     Five days after the Nov. 13 attacks, a family that had fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities.
     The families were being assisted by Exodus Refugee Immigration and Catholic Charities Indianapolis.

French Official Meets with Muslim Leaders about Concerns
PARIS - A major French official -- interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve -- has met with the nation's Muslim leaders.
     Tuesday's meeting comes in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris by Islamic State extremists.
     The Muslim leaders have denounced the attacks. But they're also expressing concern about a backlash.
     France has a largely moderate, 5-million-strong Muslim community.

Syrian Group: IS Releases More Christian Hostages
BEIRUT - An Assyrian group says Islamic State militants have released 10 more Assyrian Christian hostages they had held captive in Syria since February.
     The 10 were part of more than 220 Assyrian Christians captured by the extremist group after it overran communities in the northeastern Syria.
     The Assyrian Network for Human Rights said the 10 were released on Tuesday and that they are all in good condition. The Stockholm-based network says there are five women among the released.
     It says the release brings the number of Assyrian hostages that have so far been released to 98.
     The network also says the release was the result of ongoing mediation efforts by the head of the Assyrian Church of the East in Syria.

VP Biden Adds Stop in Rome, Italy to European Trip
WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden is adding Rome to his European trip over the Thanksgiving holiday.
     Biden will meet Friday with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. He will also meet with a Vatican official.
     Administration officials previously announced that Biden will travel to Croatia Wednesday and meet with the Slovenian president and president and prime minister of Croatia.
     Biden is expected to discuss the response to the refugee crisis, energy and economic ties between the countries.
     Biden's trip comes amid ongoing tensions over an influx of migrants flooding into Europe.

Vatican Court Rejects Journalist's Bid to Drop Leaks Charges
VATICAN CITY - A Vatican tribunal has rejected a journalist's request to dismiss charges against him for publishing confidential documents as a trial opened in the Holy See's latest leaks scandal.
     Journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi are accused of having published books about Vatican waste, greed and mismanagement that were based in part on confidential Holy See documents.
     Alongside them in the courtroom Tuesday were three people, including a high-ranking Vatican monsignor, accused of leaking them the information.
     The trial opened despite appeals by media watchdog groups for the Vatican to drop the charges against the reporters on the grounds that a free press is a fundamental human right.

Two Charged in Pastor's Wife Killing Say Little in Court
INDIANAPOLIS - The two men charged in the shooting death of an Indianapolis pastor's pregnant wife have appeared in court.
     A Marion County judge entered not guilty pleas for 18-year-old Larry Taylor Jr. and 21-year-old Jalen Watson during a brief court hearing.
     They're accused of breaking into the home of 28-year-old Amanda Blackburn on Nov. 10 shortly after her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, had left for the gym for an early morning workout.
     It was not clear whether Blackburn, who was 13 weeks pregnant, had been sexually assaulted. A prosecutor says she was found partially nude. She had been shot three times, including once in the head.
     The couple's 15-month-old son, Weston, was at home upstairs in a crib but was not harmed in the attack.
     Amanda and Davey Blackburn moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina in 2012 to found the independent Resonate Church.

Pastor Among 8 Indicted in Fatal New York Church Beating
UTICA, N.Y. - The pastor of an upstate New York church where a young man was beaten to death and his younger brother seriously injured has been indicted on murder charges.
     Pastor Tiffanie Irwin's mother, Traci Irwin, also was charged Tuesday, as were Tiffanie Irwin's two brothers, the victims' father and half-sister and two other church members.
     The indictment charges all but one of the Irwin brothers with second-degree murder. All eight face charges of manslaughter, kidnapping, assault and gang assault. They were in court Tuesday.
     Authorities have said "spiritual counseling" spiraled into a gang attack on 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and his 17-year-old brother, Christopher.
     The older brother died from injuries suffered at the Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford on Oct. 12.

Trial for Church Shooting Suspect Friend Moved to Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge has moved the trial of Joey Meek, a friend of the man charged in the Charleston church shootings, to the city where the shootings occurred.
     U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Tuesday ordered 21-year-old Meek's trial moved from Columbia to Charleston, 120 miles away.
     Prosecutors sought the move, saying it would make it easier for victims' friends and relatives to attend. Meek is from the Columbia area.
     The government says Meek failed to tell investigators all he knew about Dylann Roof's plans to shoot black parishioners at the church in June. Nine people were killed.

Washington University Cancels Classes over Hate Speech
SEATTLE - Western Washington University canceled classes on Tuesday because of threats over the weekend against minorities posted on YikYak, an anonymous social media platform populated by college students.
     The university sent out an alert and an email to students. It is unknown if the people who posted the threats are students at the state university in Bellingham, but the posts were made from a phone located within 10 miles of campus, Shepard said.
     Dozens of students, who said they represented Christian groups affiliated with the school, gathered on campus just before noon Tuesday to pray against fear and hate.

Virginia Church to Shed Images of Its Confederate Past
RICHMOND, Va. -   A Virginia church known as the "Cathedral of the Confederacy" has removed needlepoint kneelers and retired its coat of arms, as it sheds some images from the sanctuary that reflect its historic ties to the Confederacy.
     The Richmond-Times reports that leaders of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located in Richmond in the shadow of the Virginia state Capitol, announced the changes this week after months of discussion.
     Besides the removal of many remnants of its Confederate past, church leaders said they also hope to erect a memorial to honor slaves in Richmond, once a center for the South's slave trade.
     The changes are coming five months after the killing of nine African-Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, which has sparked a Southern discussion about the symbols of the Confederacy.

Police: Newborn Left in Christmas Nativity Manger at Church
NEW YORK - Authorities are searching for whoever left a newborn baby with the umbilical cord still attached in the Christmas nativity scene at a New York City church.
     Police say a custodian at a Queens church found the child after returning from lunch Monday afternoon.
     Investigators say the baby was wrapped in towels and laying in the manger at the Holy Child of Jesus Church in Richmond Hill.
     Police say the baby is in good health at a local hospital. Police have not released the gender.
     State law says a newborn can be dropped off at a church, hospital, police or fire station. But it requires the child to be left with someone or for authorities to be called immediately.

Turkey Visits Church - Not for Holiday Meal
ORLANDO, Fla. - Why did the wild turkey go to church? That question has prompted both theological and gastronomical responses on social media after postings about the bird that showed up in Orlando, Florida, and tried to enter St. Luke United Methodist Church.
     A church spokesman says there have been thousands of responses about the St. Luke Turkey.
     Some online posters speculated that the turkey was at the church seeking pardon and protection from the Thanksgiving table.
     Others theorized that divine providence had delivered the congregation the main course of a holiday feast.
     Lead pastor Rev. Jennifer Stiles Williams joked with a scriptural reference on Facebook that it was an opportunity for a "PIECE that endureth." Piece as in P-I-E-C-E. She said her preference was "a dark piece."
     The anxious bird is on the lam again.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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