BEMIDJI–One brought a pillow to soften a plastic folding chair. Some pulled out little notebooks and jotted away in tidy cursive. Almost all greeted Usama Dakdok, a Christian, anti-Islam speaker, with soulful nods and “Hallelujah!”…
One brought a pillow to soften a plastic folding chair. Some pulled out little notebooks and jotted away in tidy cursive. Almost all greeted Usama Dakdok, a Christian, anti-Islam speaker, with soulful nods and “Hallelujah!”
Dakdok preached for two hours well into the night Tuesday at the Bemidji National Guard Armory, where a crowd of 125 listeners locked their eyes on the man, smiling and boisterous, purple-shirted with a striped tie. “Thank you,” he told the audience, which clapped for Dakdok and whispered prayers under their breath through the night. There were no protesters, none of the discord that defined his most recent visit to the area last June, when police responded to Bagley High School, defusing an argument between Dakdok supporters and a Muslim protester.
“Islam is a barbaric, savage cult,” Dakdok said to the audience, flipping through a slideshow and deploying a green laser pointer for emphasis.
Not anti-Muslim, Dakdok said he is anti-Islam. Egyptian-born, he moved to the United States in 1992, founded the Straight Way of Grace Ministry in 2001, and has since toured the country with his family, renting halls and theaters in big and small communities, teaching others about what he calls the evils of Islam.
“Let’s leave our ignorance,” said Arlo Feiock, a local Lutheran pastor who introduced Dakdok, “and maybe we can enter a new dimension of understanding.”
Slipping in and out of accents and characters, raising and hushing his voice for effect, Dakdok called most Americans ignorant, especially as it relates to Islam. “You are a naive country.”
Dakdok learned about Islam while growing up in Egypt; according to a pamphlet he distributed Tuesday, he studied the religion further in college. Unlike almost all Americans–and almost all Muslims, he said–Dakdok has read the Quran….. [ ]