A Washington pastor is downplaying his connection to a child support legislation being tabled by the Idaho House of Representatives, though he did discuss his concerns with the bill after a Tuesday morning presentation in Sandpoint.
About 100 people, plus a handful of reporters, turned out to hear Washington pastor Shahram Hadian give a presentation to the Bonner County Republican Women on Islam in America.
Hadian recently made headlines in Idaho for outlining his concerns to Idaho’s Senate Bill 1067, a child support compliance legislation that the Idaho House Judiciary and Rules Committee voted to table in the final hours of the legislative session.
The federal government has told Idaho if it doesn’t pass the legislation by mid-June, the state will lose at least $16 million in federal funds for its child support program, as well as federal tools that aid in child support enforcement both in- and out-of-state.
Hadian told Idaho Reports lawmakers asked his opinion on the legislation, and while he had concerns with it, he wasn’t a major player in the issue, and he objected to media saying he took credit for the bill’s failure.
In an interview after the presentation, Hadian said the governor has no authority to press the legislature to pass the bill, and encouraged lawmakers to continue to hold off on the issue and find a state-based solution to child support enforcement.
The Tuesday presentation focused on what Hadian called “the fallacy of a ‘Peaceful Islam,'” with the pastor drawing on history and excerpts form the Quran to tell the crowd that Islam “is a culture of death” that, among other things, requires submission and teaches its followers that martyrdom is the only way to salvation.
Hadian told the crowd he isn’t anti-Muslim — “They need to be rescued out of the darkness,” he said, adding many Muslims don’t fully understand Islamic doctrine.
“However, I am anti-Islam,” he said.
Hadian didn’t acknowledge the specific legislation during his presentation, though he did encourage attendees to contact lawmakers and ask them to put protections against international laws and court orders in Idaho code and the constitution.
In a letter outlining his objections to the bill, Hadian raised concerns about the legislation, which the federal government is requiring all 50 states to pass in 2015 or risk losing child support funds. (You can read our Q&A here.)
Hadian was concerned the legislation would “open the door to the application of foreign law in the State of Idaho.”
“There is NO WHERE in this bill that specifies that no foreign law or ruling in a foreign tribunal can be used in Idaho if that foreign law violates our constitutionally protected rights,” Hadian wrote.
Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, forwarded Hadian’s concerns to the Idaho attorney general’s office, which provided counterpoints to each of those concerns to Malek.
“These provisions specifically operate to prevent an Idaho court from having to apply foreign law. Idaho courts would not be applying foreign laws under the statute rather they would be agreeing to honor a court order from a foreign jurisdiction if they determine that recognition is appropriate,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Scott Keim.
After his presentation, Hadian said he put more weight on the opinion of constitutional scholars he’d consulted than the attorney general’s opinion. (We’ll have more of our interview with Hadian later in the week, and on this week’s Idaho Reports.)
The presentation drew protesters who criticized Hadian’s objection to the child support bill. The small group held signs outside the Sandpoint Community Center that read “Stand Up For Tolerance And Child Welfare” and “I Choose Children Over Fear.”
Throughout the presentation, Hadian also attacked the Obama administration and the media, claiming the latter hasn’t properly presented his side of the story and paints him as anti-Muslim and bigoted.
Hadian didn’t allow reporters to record or take pictures of his presentation, though he did grant an interview to Idaho Reports after the meeting.
We’ll have more as the week progresses.