Organizers of Prayer Breakfast Issue Apology but Retain Controversial Speaker

February 14, 2006

Source: The Idaho Statesman

On February 14, 2006 The Idaho Statesman reported, "Organizers of the March 4 Idaho State Prayer Breakfast apologized Monday for anti-Muslim comments made by one of their colleagues, but said they will not replace their planned guest speaker. Hormoz Shariat will be featured at the breakfast despite criticism and calls from various religious groups to boycott the event. Leaders of Islamic, Jewish, Catholic and other Christian denominations say they will not attend the annual breakfast because Shariat's ministry, which seeks to convert Muslims to Christianity, is offensive. Organizer Dave Baumann, who chose Shariat to speak at this year's event, defended his choice and told The Idaho Statesman Friday that Islam is a violent religion. 'They say they would like to kill all Jews and kill all Christians,' Baumann said. 'They try to convert by the sword. Christians don't do that.' Those comments prompted Jim Flecker, president of the Idaho Prayer Fellowship, which organizes the breakfast, to apologize Monday. 'The board of directors of Idaho Prayer Fellowship Inc., which is the overseeing board for the Idaho State Prayer Breakfast, would like to apologize to the Muslim community and to anyone who was offended by comments made in The Idaho Statesman on our behalf,' he said. 'The spirit of the Idaho State Prayer Breakfast is intended to be one of peace and unity and encouragement of all to pray for the state of Idaho and its government and business leaders'... The breakfast is organized by a private group, and the governor usually attends and speaks at the event. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's photo and the state seal were on invitations for the $20-per-ticket breakfast."