Shahram Hadian sees the threat of Islam everywhere.
For the Iranian-born convert from Islam to Christianity, the religion poses nothing less than an existential threat to the United States' democracy and constitutional values. He claims its influence comes subtly, in the form of international treaties buried in legislation, politically correct propaganda from the Obama administration and an unwitting media.
“The point is to pull the wool over our eyes while they come in, infiltrate this nation and bring it down,” he said.
That message is the focus of Hadian's career as a pastor and a political activist. His latest speaking engagement, in the northern Idaho city of Sandpoint on April 21, drew a lively crowd of more than 100 people who were quick to applaud his points or jeer the federal government.
According to Hadian, the speaking engagement was booked with the Bonner County Republican Women several months ago. However, it received an explosion of media attention
after Idaho representatives tabled Senate Bill 1067
, a bill needed to maintain Idaho's child support system. Hadian is a vocal opponent of the bill, saying it makes Idaho vulnerable to Islamic law, also known as Sharia law.
Consequently, both Hadian's supporters and critics turned out for the occasion. Since the meeting required attendees to register and pay a $5 fee, not everyone listened to the talk. One individual was even turned away after refusing to sign up. Afterward, law enforcement officers arrived to watch over the remainder of the meeting.
Others remained outside with signs protesting religious intolerance and the endangerment of the child support system.
"I think you could've probably in many instances in his presentation substituted the word Islam for Christianity," said one critic. "It's very picking and choosing, like a lot of Christians do with their bible. He picked verses, picked examples. I just don't see how someone who purports to be a Christian can preach the ideology that he seems to be preaching."
Hadian contends he is not anti-Muslim; he is, however, proudly "anti-Islam," believes militant terrorist groups like ISIS
—now infamous for its public executions of non-Muslims—strike closer to the true heart of the religion.
“I appreciated how he separated Muslims in general from Islam and how Islam is not just a religion, but is a legal system, political system and economic system,” said another attendee of the presentation. “Clearly, Islam is not the religion of peace, and we are being misled by some of our leaders and the media.”
Islam's influence, Hadian said, is already degrading the Western traditions of European countries like Belgium, and U.S. could be next. According to Hadian, President Barack Obama is also advancing the spread through foreign and domestic policy.
“If you knew the level of infiltration, you would be on your knees praying every day,” Hadian said.
That "infiltration" includes both immigration and the acceptance of refugees from Islamic countries—specifically, according to Hadian, a plan by the federal government to introduce 2,000 Muslim refugees into the Boise area. These newcomers are part of a scheme to boost Muslim populations, implement Sharia law and eventually consume the U.S. from the inside out, he said.
“I learned [from the presentation] that Sharia law is the Constitution of Islam, and that's why it can never be separated out,” said Danielle Ahrens, who mounted an unsuccessful election challenge against Sandpoint Republican Sen. Shawn Keough in the 2014 GOP primary.
Hadian's concerns over a global Islamic agenda led him to found the Truth In Love Project
, which focuses his perspectives into DVD presentations and literature. It was also the primary issue in his 2012 bid for the Washington governor's office. He ran a campaign emphasizing the restoration of the 10 Commandments, Second Amendment rights, traditional marriage, strict immigration policies and support for Israel. He finished the race with 3.3 percent of the vote.
Despite the loss, he remains a presence in Idaho political life. On March 26, the Spokesman-Review reported
that Hadian delivered an anti-Islam presentation to 13 Idaho legislators. Then, on April 10, the Idaho House Judiciary and Rules Committee ruled by a margin of one vote to table SB 1067. Legislators have since claimed media over-emphasized fears of Sharia law in the decision to table SB 1067. However, it was one of the concerns cited by Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, who testified against the bill during the committee hearing.
Regardless, the failure to pass the bill carries potentially serious ramifications. According to the Spokesman-Review
, Commissioner Vicki Turetsky, of the U.S. Office of Child Support and Enforcement, is giving Idaho a 60-day deadline to comply with federal standards or risk losing an immediate $16 million and the tools necessary to enforce $200 million in support payments.
Following the decision, many Idahoans responded with outrage at what they perceived as irresponsible governing
“I grew up with a lot of experience seeing what happens to the most vulnerable members of society when we don't take care of them,” said one of those who gathered to protest Hadian's appearance in Sandpoint.
According to legal experts, SB 1067 is similar to earlier child support enforcement legislation previously adopted by all states. This law, however, does add enforcement agreements with foreign courts in compliance with the Hague Convention treaty of 2007. The bill could require compliance with a Sharia court order, just as it would with a German or French court. However, the bill also includes numerous procedural safeguards that would allow an Idaho resident to contest enforcement of foreign child support orders.
“[The bill] gets very detailed because there are so many safeguards involved,” said Sandpoint attorney Paul Vogel.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden agreed that SB 1067 posed no danger to the sovereignty of Idaho law. However, Hadian maintains he has constitutional scholars to back him up.
“[Wasden] has a right to his opinion, and my opinion is his opinion doesn't hold water,” he said.
Hadian also believes Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who is considering a special legislative session to address SB 1067, is acting beyond his constitutional authority in revisiting the issue. He went so far as to suggest that Otter may be working in cooperation with Islamic expansion.
As for Idaho's child support system, Hadian said Idaho should work directly with other states to set up child support enforcement agreements. Even if Idaho families lose the child support system, he sees it as a necessary casualty in a greater battle.
“Would you rather have short-term gain just to lose liberty in the long-term?” he said.