Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Bonner County GOP group to host anti-Muslim pastor for talk, expects big turnout

The Bonner County Republican Women has announced it will host a talk next week by the Rev. Shahram Hadian, an anti-Muslim Christian pastor from Chattaroy, Wash. who heads the “Truth in Love Project” and addressed Idaho lawmakers during this year’s legislative session at the invitation of Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. Hadian’s March luncheon talk, entitled “The True Face of Islam,” drew outrage from Idaho religious and human rights leaders, as he charged that Muslims are attempting to infiltrate and influence conservative communities in the West; the Bonner County event is entitled, “What would Idaho look like under Sharia law?” and is set for April 21 at 10:15 a.m. at the Sandpoint Community Hall.

However, the Bonner County Republican Women shouldn’t be confused with the Idaho Federation of Republican Women, the group that’s affiliated with the Idaho Republican Party – it formally disaffiliated from the state group in March, and also disaffiliated with the national Federation of Republican Women. Kitty Kunz, president of the Idaho Federation of Republican Women, said it’s the first time any local affiliate has withdrawn from the GOP women’s group in Idaho.

“We did not kick ‘em off, they quit,” Kunz said. “They have been unhappy with the Idaho federation and the national federation for quite some time, and they don’t feel like they have been supported. In their support of the candidates, they have chosen to, a lot of times, support some of the more tea party-type candidates, and in the primaries, that has caused problems with some of the other people around there. So there was another club formed.” That group, the North Idaho Republican Women, covers Bonner and Boundary counties and remains affiliated with the Idaho and national groups. Kunz estimated that each of the groups has 30 to 40 members.

Victoria Zeischegg, president of the Bonner County Republican Women, declined to comment on the reasons for the split, but said there’s been lots of interest in the group’s upcoming event with Hadian. “We do a lot of things about local issues, and we had some requests about doing something more on the state or national level,” she said. “We’re expecting a packed house, lots of guests. We usually have lots of guests, we always have as many men as well as women come. … I am expecting at least 80 people, which is pretty good for our little town. I know some folks are coming up from the Coeur d’Alene-Post Falls area.”

Hadian told the Coeur d’Alene Press today that he takes credit for the Idaho Legislature’s rejection of SB 1067, the child support enforcement bill, on the final day of this year’s legislative session, as he alerted lawmakers late in the session to concerns about Sharia, or Islamic religious law, being enforced in Idaho if the state complied with federal rules and an international treaty; state officials say that concern is misplaced, and the bill wouldn’t result in that. The Senate had passed SB 1067 on a unanimous, 34-0 vote; it died on a 9-8 vote in a House committee, never making it to the full House for a vote. The measure conforms Idaho’s child support enforcement system to federal rules, and without it, the state will lose up to $46 million in federal funds and access to the federal child support enforcement system, which enforces $205 million a year in support payments for Idaho children.

Gov. Butch Otter is expected to announce tomorrow whether or not he’ll call state lawmakers back for a  special session to address the issue.

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.

Follow Betsy online: