In their recent newsletter, the Bonneville County Republican Party claims Muslims are a growing problem in Idaho, saying they’re a threat to non-Muslims. Local Muslims say it’s a false and hateful message.
Nazer Alnejidi moved to Pocatello from Saudi Arabia five years ago to study at Idaho State University. Also, like many other Muslims in the area, they’re here to learn American culture by living it.
When he read the article published by Bonneville County GOPs, he was shocked to say the least.
“I’m a Muslim man, I never hurt anything and I will never hurt anything. My religion taught me that,” Alnejidi said. “Spreading this message of hate and making us feel not safe; there’s no reason behind it except hateness[sic]. We’re against that in all means.”
The article, titled “Islam in Idaho,” was written by Becky Prestwich, executive director of the Bonneville Republican Central Committee. In it she claims Muslims advocate violence and death toward non-Muslims, are taught to be two-faced and even calls for people to contact their legislators about this problem.
Practicing Muslim and Idaho State University assistant professor Daniel Hummel said the article showcases the generalizations Muslims face every day.
“It’s like taking a sliver of a religion, I can do that with any religion,” he said. “I can look in Judaism, I can look in Christianity, I can look in Buddhism, I can look at Hinduism– all the major religions and I can find a sliver of them that are extreme and committing acts of violence in the name of their religion.”
Despite the hatred he feels from the article, Alnejidi has a positive reply to Prestwich’s article.
“I say to her that she’s welcome to ask any questions, she’s welcome to be among us,” he said.
Despite numerous calls and emails to the Bonneville County Republican Party, no one returned our messages for comment.