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Thursday, April 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Interfaith Council invites Idaho Rep. Scott to ‘Meet the Neighbors’ at Islamic Center

The Spokane Interfaith Council has invited Idaho Rep. Heather Scott to a “Meet the Neighbors” event at the Spokane Islamic Center in January after Scott sent out a legislative newsletter declaring that Muslim refugees constitute an “invasion of our country.”

Scott, a Republican from Blanchard who’s also made controversial statements about the Confederate flag and the Civil War, called for a special legislative session focusing on refugee issues.

Skyler Oberst, president of the Interfaith Council, told Scott he was issuing the invitation “knowing your commitment to our country and our extended community in the Inland Northwest.”

He said the event would provide community leaders “accurate and respectful information about the people they serve and live alongside, as well as highlight the rich history of our area’s religious communities.”

Scott hasn’t replied to the invitation, and she didn’t return calls seeking comment on whether she plans to attend the event. It’s set for Jan. 20, when Scott will be in Boise for the legislative session, but Oberst offered to pay for her travel and hotel accommodations to attend.

Oberst highlighted the stories of some of the estimated 5,000 American Muslims living in the Inland Northwest.

“Most are born or raised as U.S. citizens,” he wrote. “They are upstanding citizens and exemplify the best of America. Like millions of American Muslims nationwide, they share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish, knowing that we are all in this together, and they participate actively in mainstream society, and I look forward to introducing many more of them to you during your visit.”

He pointed to Muslim area residents who are teachers, prosecutors, members of the military, nurses, pharmacists, business people and more.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and staff from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office have said they’ll attend, Oberst told Scott.

“I’d love you to be a part of building bridges of trust and understanding in the Inland Northwest,” he said.

Oberst, who is a member of the Spokane city Human Rights Commission, said members of the Interfaith Council have noticed “a need for religious literacy” and want to combat disinformation and misinformation.

The event will highlight how long different religious communities have been in the Inland Northwest and their specific contributions, Oberst said.

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