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Rep. Barbieri says Islam presentation to lawmakers not effective, others call claims ‘utter nonsense’

After gathering more than a dozen lawmakers for lunch in a Statehouse meeting room last week to hear a presentation titled “The True Face of Islam in Idaho,” Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, says it didn’t turn out to be a very effective presentation. Barbieri brought in a guest speaker, Shahram Hadian, a Christian pastor from Chattaroy, Washington, and former Muslim who heads the “Truth in Love Project,” which is dedicated to exposing what it calls “the true goal of Islam and threat of Shari’ah law in America.” Hadian told the Idaho lawmakers, “I was asked to come and just share about the advancement of Islam in Idaho … the real face of Islam.”

A day later, Barbieri said, “It was a lengthy and detailed lecture squeezed into an hour, which was an hour late because we were on the floor so long, so unfortunately, I didn’t think it was that effective.” Hadian warned of Muslims spreading into conservative communities in the West and seeking to change the culture, and had particularly harsh words for resettlement of Muslim refugees in the region.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called Hadian’s claims “Utter nonsense, utter nonsense," and said, "In normal times it would be laughable, but we’re not laughing now, because there are so many of these people going around the country, making these bizarre claims, and being given a platform by public officials as we saw in this case.” You can read my full Sunday column here at

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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