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Wednesday, June 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Ex-Muslim pastor stokes fear and controversy in Idaho

After listening to Shahram Hadian speak for over an hour about Islam as a rising menace in America, Alton Howell stepped outside the log-built community hall in Sandpoint and quickly called a colleague, writes S-R reporter Scott Maben. “It scared the living daylights out of me,” the Careywood farmer spoke into his phone.

Howell, a leader in the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, said in an interview that he worries young people are being “indoctrinated” to Islam and that followers already have a foothold in parts of the Northwest. “I think that we better pay attention,” he said. “The city of Seattle, that part of Washington, is just shotgun full of Muslims.”

If alarm and fear are the reactions Hadian strives to produce in his audiences, the Spokane-area Christian pastor is having some success. And not just with community groups like last month’s Sandpoint meeting hosted by a group of Republican women. Hadian, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, also outlined his anti-Islam views for a group of conservative legislators in Boise earlier this year, taking the opportunity to voice his concerns about a Senate bill to keep Idaho in compliance with the federal child support program. A House committee tabled that legislation in the waning hours of the legislative session, thrusting the state into national headlines and leading the governor to call lawmakers back into session Monday to deflect a looming crisis in child support payments. You can read Maben’s full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.




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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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