Idaho Prayer Breakfast: Controversial Speaker, Anti-Muslim Remarks by Organizer, and Boycott by Religious Leaders

February 11, 2006

Source: Idaho Statesman

On February 11, 2006 the Idaho Statesman reported, "Some Idaho religious leaders say they will boycott the upcoming Idaho State Prayer Breakfast because the guest speaker is a former Muslim who now leads a ministry aimed at converting Muslims to Christianity. The Rev. Hormoz Shariat, a native of Iran who is now living in California, is scheduled to speak at the March 4 event at the Boise Centre on The Grove. A computer scientist by training, he was born in Tehran and was introduced to Christianity while working on his doctorate at the University of Southern California. Shariat founded the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Iranian Christian Church in 1987. His other mission, International Antioch Ministries, which attempts to convert Muslims by broadcasting evangelical television programs into Iran, has been praised on Pat Robertson's TV show 'The 700 Club,' but it is drawing criticism in Idaho... Dave Baumann, who heads the group that invited Shariat to speak in Boise next month, said breakfast organizers — a committee comprised entirely of Christians — have no intention of uninviting Shariat. The event, now in its 45th year, is designed to appeal mainly to Christians, and registrations for this year's breakfast are double those of previous years, said Baumann, who ran for state senate in 2004... The breakfast, which used to be called the Governor's Prayer Breakfast, is organized by a private committee and receives no state funding, but a promotional flyer features the state seal and a photo of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, who also will speak at the event."