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FāVS Religion News Roundup: May 10

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FāVS Religion News Roundup: May 10

News Story by FāVS News Staff

Muslim Woman Assaulted in Pro-Palestinian Bellevue Protest

A Muslim woman was assaulted while participating in a peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstration in Bellevue this past weekend. Video shows counter-protestors holding Israeli flags repeatedly touching and pushing two Muslim women until one of them is shoved to the ground. The Council on American-Islamic Relations Washington chapter (CAIR-WA) condemned the attack and called on elected officials to speak out against the rising Islamophobia and violence toward peaceful protests.

“We are truly disturbed by this incident of a young Muslim woman being assaulted while she was peacefully protesting for Palestinian rights,” said Imraan Siddiqi, CAIR-WA executive director. “Violence against peaceful protestors is a growing problem … Actions like this should be widely condemned.” 

According to protesters, after the video cut off, the attacker returned and continued to harm and intimidate the group, despite police called to the scene.

University of Utah Women’s Basketball Team Harasser Not Charged

In Coeur d’Alene, 18-year-old Anthony Myers escaped charges for yelling racial slurs at the University of Utah women’s basketball team during March Madness. Prosecutors found his words, though racist and misogynistic, protected speech under Idaho law. Meyers admitted his desire in using the N-word and referring to a sex act was to be “funny.”

Mayor Jim Hammond expressed disappointment over the lack of accountability, The Spokesman-Review reported. Ryan Hunter, the chief deputy city attorney, explored various charges but concluded Myers’ intent wasn’t to intimidate or harass. Tony Stewart from the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations condemned the incident and emphasized support for victims. Coeur d’Alene Captain David Hagar declined to comment. 

The decision not to charge Myers highlights challenges in addressing hate speech while respecting free speech rights. 

House of Charity’s Relocation May Become a Reality

Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown aims to relocate the House of Charity homeless shelter from Second Ave. and Division Street, a pledge unfulfilled by her predecessor. Spokane City Council may allocate $2.65M from COVID-19 relief funds for the move. The Spokesman Review reported City Council President Betsy Wilkerson would have liked to fund other programs with the pandemic relief money, but she acknowledged the need to prioritize this move. Catholic Charities supports the plan, hopeful for a better outcome under this administration. City Council’s vote scheduled for May 13.

Tour a Kingdom Hall

The Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Inland Northwest invite visitors to their newly-renovated Kingdom Hall in Colville, Washington. Guests are invited to see the completed project outside of worship hours on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at 96 Buena Vista Rd. in Colville. 

Spokane County Fights Opioid Crisis

The Spokane County Board of Commissioners approved this week $7.2 million in projects from its Opioid Settlement Funds. Approved projects include expanding crisis relief services, supporting parents/caregivers of infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and enhancing access to behavioral health services in the community. The funds, resulting from litigation against entities in the pharmaceutical supply chain, are expected to continue until 2038, providing over $17 million for addiction treatment. Spokane County plans to establish priorities and solicit proposals for these funds through Request for Proposals (RFPs) to be advertised later. All funds will complement existing behavioral health efforts to ensure necessary services for residents.

Living Cult Free

Living Cult Free, a new national nonprofit focused on empowering survivors of cult abuse, is hosting a global “Somatics with Friends” event on May 18, to mark Mental Health Awareness Month. Participants around the world are encouraged to engage in healthy movement like walking, biking, dancing or hiking to raise awareness about coercive control and undue influence while celebrating freedom. The event aims to aid trauma recovery through mind-body healing and build a supportive community.

To join, individuals can register for $10 and share their experience on social media using #LCFSWF24. The goal is to create a “wave of celebrations” starting in New Zealand and spanning the globe to promote awareness, healing and survivor resilience, according to a press release. Living Cult Free’s mission is empowering survivors through education, storytelling and advocacy about the impacts of cultic abuse and coercive control. The nonprofit hopes this event will demonstrate global solidarity in that mission.

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