A Texas high school student has filed suit against her school district, claiming she was punished for refusing to recite the Mexican national anthem and pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment.

Brenda Brinsdon, then 15, told TheBlaze exclusively in 2011 that students in her intermediate Spanish class were instructed to recite the Mexican anthem and pledge individually in front of their peers at Achieve Early College High School in McAllen, Texas. Brinsdon refused, telling TheBlaze at the time that “Reciting pledges to Mexico and being loyal to it has nothing to do with learning Spanish.” She also provided TheBlaze with video she recorded of students taking part in the assignment.

As an alternative task to reciting the pledge and anthem, she was assigned an essay on the history of the Mexican revolution — an assignment for which she received a failing grade.

According to the lawsuit, filed in federal court Wednesday, Brinsdon was not allowed to return to the Spanish class after her story received media coverage. She was made to sit in the office each day instead of attend class and ultimately failed the course.

She is suing the McAllen Independent School District, principal Yvette Cavazos and teacher Reyna Santos for violating her constitutional right to freedom of speech and equal protection under the law — according to the suit, the district has a policy to excuse students from saying the American pledge of allegiance if they object, but not if they oppose pledging to another country.

Read more here.

MICHIGAN: Plans to turn a school into an Islamic Indoctrination Center face stiff opposition from residents

WEST BLOOMFIELD: Proposed Islamic Center has raised concerns over increased traffic, aesthetics, noise pollution, the risk of terrorist associations….and now, corruption among officials.

Arab American News This affluent Detroit suburb prides itself on its religious diversity, with 49 houses of worship within its 32 square miles, including at least 11 Jewish synagogues and 15 Protestant or Catholic churches…but no mosques. (Aren’t there way too many mosques all over Michigan as it is?)

Hundreds packed the West Bloomfield Township Hall for a joint meeting Tuesday held by the city’s planning commission and wetland review board to hear whether the Islamic Cultural Association’s (ICA) request to construct a storm water management system with a direct discharge to the Franklin Branch of the Rouge River, as part of its rennovation of Eagle Elementary School would be approved.

The ICA purchased the school which was owned by the Farmington Public School District last year for $1.1 million to build the Muslim Cultural Center. Since then controversy surrounding the sale has only escalated, and those opposing plans for the new project have taken a tougher stance to prevent it from reaching the final phase of completion.

Read more here.

Buffalo’s War on Christians

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of Buffalo, N.Y., alleging that police threatened to arrest a Christian for peacefully handing out tracts and talking with passersby who were willing to chat with him on public property.

The complaint was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Gregory Owen.

While handing out tracts to willing recipients on a public street during a public festival, Owen was approached by a police officer who declined to identify himself but told him that the Buffalo Police Department is “the law” and he should stop handing out tracts.

According to the lawsuit: “Subsequently, another police officer, Officer Slomka, arrived on the scene. She quickly informed Owen that they could not hand out tracts in the festival and explained that the prohibition was ‘by our orders.’ Owen asked for her name, and she replied: ‘Slomka, write it down.’ Owen advised that he believed the tracts to be free speech; nonplussed, Officer Slomka reiterated that they couldn’t hand out tracts there and had to go outside of the festival area to continue with their expressive activity.”

Then, “Owen inquired as to whether they would be arrested if they continued to hand out tracts in the festival area, to which, Officer Slomka replied: ‘Yes.’”

Nate Kellum, one of more than 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, said people of faith “shouldn’t be threatened with arrest for peacefully expressing their beliefs.”

“The Constitution and court precedent in these types of cases is clear: Officials cannot toss someone out of a public event simply because they don’t like the views he’s expressing,” he said.

“This is a classic example of free speech that the First Amendment protects,” he said.

City officials declined to respond to a WND request for comment.

The dispute developed as Owen, together with a friend and members of his family, walked up and down Hertel Avenue during the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival and handed out Christian literature.

The lawsuit explains he was on a public street in a section of town known as “Little Italy.”

Officers eventually claimed that his speech violated a permit granted by the city to festival organizers.

However, ADF reported: “In truth, the city issued a non-exclusive use permit to festival organizers that does not prohibit members of the public from exercising their free speech rights protected by the First Amendment. The event was free and open to the public, and the street remained at all times a public thoroughfare.”

ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs argued “exercising your constitutionally protected free speech rights is not a crime.”

“Threatening to arrest Christians simply because they choose to exercise those rights in a public place is a clear violation of the First Amendment,” he said.

The filing also notes that while officers were detaining the Christians, they witnessed another group of people handing out literature, unmolested by police. Owen “pointed out the differing treatment and suggested that they (his group and the other two gentlemen) were being singled out because they are Christian.”