BOISE – Three Idaho interfaith groups have released a statement condemning last week’s luncheon in a Statehouse meeting room, organized by North Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri, that featured a speaker on “The True Face of Islam,” suggesting Muslims are trying to infiltrate and take over conservative western regions of the United States.
The groups said, “As people of faith and conscience and as citizens of Idaho, it is heartbreaking for us to see a lack of understanding, fear and suspicion of unfamiliar faiths and refugees.” They called the talk “a glaring example of this kind of ignorance and fear mongering,” and said, “There are many issues that require our time, money, and attention in this state. Keeping out Muslims is not one of them.”
Barbieri defended his invitation of Shahram Hadian, a Christian pastor from Chattaroy, and said he’s concerned about the interplay between Sharia law and American jurisprudence, and wants to learn more.
“It’s not fear-mongering, it’s fact finding,” he said.
The statement was endorsed by an array of Idaho religious leaders, including representatives of the Islamic Center of Boise, the United Church of Christ, several Presbyterian churches, Boise’s Jewish congregation, the Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship, and several Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Men plead guilty in ATM theft cases
Two Idaho men with ties to the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas have pleaded guilty to federal bank robbery charges stemming from a string of ATM thefts in Wyoming, Mississippi, Utah and Idaho.
Matthew T. Annable and Nathan P. Davenport have signed plea agreements admitting they robbed the machines using a deadly weapon. The men were arrested in Utah following a shootout outside McCall, Idaho, in January 2014. Authorities later linked Annable and Davenport to the ATM thefts in other states committed between October 2012 and the McCall incident.
Prosecutors have recommended an 18-year sentence for Davenport, who fired the weapon at officers. Annable’s sentence has not been determined but is expected to be at least 10 years.
Teen girl reports abduction, assault
North Idaho authorities are investigating a reported abduction and sexual assault involving a teenage girl near Hayden but are having difficulty corroborating the attack.
A 17-year-old girl called 911 shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday to report a man abducted her from her bedroom, took her to the nearby woods and sexually assaulted her, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies set up a perimeter around where the girl was found and searched for four hours but did not locate a suspect.
Deputies were called to the home near St. James Avenue and Strahorn Road by a man who reported that his daughter was missing and that there were signs of a struggle in her room. The girl called 911 a few minutes later to report being abducted and assaulted.
The search of the area was extensive, Lt. Stu Miller said. “We had every police officer, helicopter and K-9 pounding around the woods and didn’t find anything,” he said.
The girl was examined at Kootenai Health hospital and investigators are waiting for test results, Miller said.
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