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FāVS Religion News Roundup: July 5


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: July 5

News story by FāVS News Staff

New ‘Hate crimes’ ordinance in Cd’A

The Coeur d’Alene City Council unanimously passed a new “hate crimes” ordinance on Tuesday night, making discriminatory acts illegal in the city. The ordinance adds to the municipal code, allowing for an additional misdemeanor charge if a criminal act is committed with discriminatory intent based on race, disability, religion, sexuality or other protected characteristics. 

This move follows recent high-profile incidents and addresses a gap in state law, which doesn’t use the term “hate crime” and omits sexuality and gender identity protections. According to the Spokesman-Review, city officials emphasized that the ordinance targets criminal conduct, not speech, and aims to protect the community from discrimination. The law comes against the backdrop of the region’s history with white supremacist groups and recent racial harassment incidents. 

Justice for murdered Afghan teenager

On the east side of the state, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), demands justice for the murder of 17-year-old Hazrat Ali Rohani in Renton on June 5. Rohani was with friends returning an airsoft gun when they were confronted by 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers, who allegedly shot and killed him.

The three teenagers, all from Afghan immigrant families, included Rohani. He was identifiable by his beard, a cultural symbol for Muslim men. On July 24, Myers pled not guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree assault at King County Superior Court.

“It is heartbreaking to see another brown boy killed by someone acting as a vigilant,” said Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of CAIR-WA, in a July 1 press release. “Myers had no authority or justification to stop these young men, and six of the seven shots that killed Hazrat Ali were fired into his back. We must examine how race and ethnicity influenced Myers’ actions.”

‘Extremely American’ dives into Doug Wilson’s views on slavery

Over in Moscow, Idaho, a recent National Public Radio podcast episode explored the controversy surrounding Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. The episode, part of the series “Extremely American: Onward Christian Soldiers,” highlighted Wilson’s controversial views on slavery, including his co-authored booklet “Southern Slavery: As It Was,” which sparked protests and condemnation in 2003. 

Despite the backlash, which included comparisons to Holocaust deniers and criticism from academic institutions, Christ Church has continued to grow. Wilson maintained his stance that slavery “wasn’t as bad as people think,” describing it as a “normal, social evil.” The podcast also examined Wilson’s background and the church’s role in the rise of Christian nationalism, with some observers drawing parallels between Wilson’s ability to retain followers despite controversies and similar phenomena in broader American politics.

Weekly Buddhist teachings come to Spokane

From July 9-11, Yangten Rinpoche, assistant to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, will visit the Abbey to teach on Bodhicitta. This will be a three-day course available online and in-person. More details on their website.

Sravasti Abbey will resume its weekly Buddhist teachings in Spokane July 17, with three classes left. Souls Center, 707 N. Cedar St., will host the series, titled “Beginning Buddhism,” every Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. Ven. Thubten Semkye and Ven. Thubten Lamsel, will lead the classes based on the book “Open Heart, Clear Mind” by Abbey founder Venerable Thubten Chodron.

The course aims to provide a solid foundation in Buddhist philosophy and its practical application in modern life, with a focus on working effectively with emotions. Classes will include discussions, Q&A sessions and guided meditations. No prior experience or registration required, and all programs offered freely, with donations welcome. This series marks a return to in-person teachings for Sravasti Abbey in Spokane following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE: The story was updated to correct the amount of Buddhist classes left in Spokane.

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