Would you believe me if I told you I attended a bible conference where an Egyptian-born minister sold dozens of Korans to eagerly awaiting Christians? Believe it or not, that was the scene Monday night at a high school in Rochester, Minnesota.
Usama Dakdok is founder of The Straight Way of Grace Ministries, a Christian outreach to Muslims and herald of the threat posed by Sharia Law. He stood at the center of a recent controversy in Mansfield, Ohio, where the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) applied pressure to a school district where he was scheduled to speak. Superintendent Dan Freund caved to CAIR’s pressure, citing concerns for public safety. The Tea Party organization which organized the event pursued legal action against the district. The episode drew attention to Dakdok’s message and that of his critics.
Dakdok was characterized as “an anti-Islam extremist” engaged in “hate speech.” In a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, Islamic Society of Mansfield president Arshad Ahmad insisted that Dakdok’s presentation on Islam was slanderous.
We, the Muslims living in Mansfield, Ohio, USA, are a peace-loving community and love to have peace everywhere. We always denounce violence, hatred and injustice against any community and we will always do this(…)
In the past we had open house at our mosque and would do it again. I invite every one to come and know about Islam, first-hand. And beware of the hate mongers like Usama Dakdok and others.
Ironically, this call to “come and know about Islam, first hand” is the core of Dakdok’s message. During his Monday presentation in Rochester, Dakdok urgently pleaded with his audience to read the Koran and the Hadith. Ohio resident Richard L. Nuetzel expounds.
[Dakdok] used film clips of President Barack Obama and others and extensively quoted from the Koran. Everything he said was backed by obvious facts, as stated in those film clips, news articles and the Koran. He did plainly state that he loved Muslims, but hated Islam. Through the factual quotes, he explained why.
Indeed, Dakdok seemed more interested in bringing people to knowledge of Islam than any Muslim I have encountered. Part of his charge against organizations like CAIR is that they rarely quote from the Koran or the Hadith, and never in context.
When considering the work of scholars like Dakdok, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat, and others, it speaks volumes that these critics of Islam are more likely to quote its texts than are its defenders. While an open house at a mosque may help bring us a superficial knowledge of some Muslims, it does little to relay the tenets of their faith. Perhaps Ahmad, CAIR, and the rest of Dakdok’s critics will host an event reconciling the teachings of Islam with “a peace-loving community.”
Don’t hold your breath.