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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye on Boise: Rep. Barbieri hosts lunch on ‘True Face of Islam’

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.”

Free speech, sensitivity clash in media outlets

It’s not news that free speech can offend. But in the wake of the recent killings by Islamist extremists at a satirical magazine in Paris, editors around the world have had to make a choice: Trumpet freedom of expression and demonstrate an unbowed commitment to press independence by reprinting controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad or decide that doing so would be unnecessarily inflammatory.

Pope prays in Istanbul mosque in new outreach

ISTANBUL (AP) — His head bowed and hands clasped in front of him, Pope Francis stood Saturday for two minutes of silent prayer facing east inside one of Istanbul's most important mosques, as he shifted gears toward more religious affairs on the second leg of his three-day visit to mainly Muslim Turkey. Following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI who visited Turkey in 2006, Francis prayed alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, who had his palms turned toward the sky in a Muslim prayer, inside the 17th-century Sultan Ahmet mosque.

Islamic State group says it’ll mint its own coins

CAIRO (AP) — The leader of the Islamic State group has ordered the terror organization to start minting gold, silver and copper coins for its own currency — the Islamic dinar. A website affiliated with the group posted the order late Thursday, saying IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi instructed his followers to mint the coins to "change the tyrannical monetary system" modelled on Western economies that "enslaved Muslims."

Number of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar tops 100,000

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A growing sense of desperation is fueling a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims from western Myanmar, with the number fleeing by boat since communal violence broke out two years ago now topping 100,000, a leading expert said Saturday. Chris Lewa, director of the nonprofit advocacy group Arakan Project, said there has been a huge surge since Oct. 15, with an average of 900 people per day piling into cargo ships parked off Rakhine state.

Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus (AP) — An unexpected moment during the Good Friday service in a long-abandoned church in Cyprus' breakaway north illustrated how religion is helping to bring together Christian Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots on this ethnically divided island. It came when Turkish Cypriot Umit Inatci handed the key of the church of Agios Georgios Exorinos in the medieval center of Famagusta to the city's Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Vasilios, saying: "This is not gift, it's something that is surrendered to its owner."

Thousands of Muslims stuck in C. African Republic

BODA, Central African Republic (AP) — There is only one neighborhood in Boda where Muslims are safe from the bullets and machetes of Christian militia fighters. Many who ventured out were killed, their throats slit or their cars showered in gunfire. Even the dead must obey: Muslim bodies are buried behind an old warehouse because the traditional Muslim cemetery is now off limits.

Muslim family fights small town in court for religious exemption

SPRINGDALE, Wash. – From the cluttered back stoop of Raqeebah Amatallah’s one-story farmhouse in rural Stevens County, it’s hard to see how the snow-covered wooden structure about 50 yards away could prompt years of legal battles. Inside, there’s evidence of human occupation: a wood stove with charred kindling, a hot plate with stains from countless cooked meals, and some empty coffee cans. But no one has been there for weeks, Amatallah said.

Company’s ‘pork bullets’ profoundly poor idea

Call it the redneck trifecta: stupidity, weaponry, bigotry. A North Idaho company hit all three recently with its marketing of what I am calling “pork bullets” – a bit of business that is so dumb, in such a multicolored mosaic of ways, that it’s exhausting to untangle them all.

Afghan attacks down overall, insider threat rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Army is updating its handbook for soldiers on how to detect and prevent so-called insider attacks, providing detailed warning signs to watch for and cultural missteps to avoid because they could fuel anger or violence among the Afghan forces. The update comes as a new Pentagon report says that the ongoing insider attacks, in which Afghan forces or people dressed in Afghan uniforms turn their weapons on coalition troops, "have the potential to significantly disrupt the Coalition mission in Afghanistan." The report underscores the spotty and incremental progress in the Afghan war, with overall violence declining just slightly in the past year and widespread corruption continuing to hamper the shaky government, according to a new Pentagon report.

Internal emails offer details on bin Laden burial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden's burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony. The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader's death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Informant: NYPD paid me to ‘bait’ Muslims

NEW YORK (AP) — A paid informant for the New York Police Department's intelligence unit was under orders to "bait" Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press. Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bangladeshi descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called "create and capture." He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.

Ark. GOP calls candidates’ statements ‘offensive’

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative's assertion that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims. The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.

Ark. GOP calls candidates’ statements ‘offensive’

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative's assertion that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims. The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.

California man behind anti-Islam film arrested

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California man behind a crudely produced anti-Islamic video posted to YouTube that has inflamed parts of the Middle East was arrested for violating terms of his probation, authorities said Thursday. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was convicted in 2010 for federal check and sentenced to 21 months in prison. Under terms of his probation, he was not allowed to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

Obama urges UN to confront roots of Muslim rage

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama told world leaders Tuesday that attacks on U.S. citizens in Libya "were attacks on America," and he called on them to join in confronting the root causes of the rage across the Muslim world. "I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism," Obama said in a speech to the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly.

Anti-jihad ‘savage’ ads going up in NYC subway

NEW YORK (AP) — A provocative ad that equates Muslim radicals with savages is set to go up in the city's subway system as violent protests over an anti-Islamic film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad sweep over much of the Muslim world. A conservative blogger who once headed a campaign against an Islamic center near the Sept. 11 terror attack site won a court order to post the ad in 10 subway stations next Monday. The ad reads, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

Prophet film puts spotlight on US Copts

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The anti-Islamic movie trailer inflaming the Middle East opens with Muslims ransacking a Christian medical clinic and then segues into a flashback of Muhammad's life. "Set the place on fire! We'll burn out these forsaken Christians!" cries one Muslim character. The opening scene from "Innocence of Muslims," although crude, resonates with some Egyptian Christians, who have suffered years of persecution and attacks by Islamic militants.

Latest developments on anti-Islam film protests

Here’s a look at protests and reaction across the Middle East and elsewhere today over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S. ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad. ——— PAKISTAN Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against the film torched a press club and a government building in the northwestern town of Wari, setting of clashes with police that killed one demonstrator and wounded several others.