My xenophobe neighbors are bringing Usama Dakdok to town in a couple weeks to preach his fearful, angry nonsense about all Muslims being terrorists. He has subjected Brainerd and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, to his hyperventilations over the past couple weeks, and some Minnesotans have shown us how we ought to respond to such vileness.
Pastor Todd Wooden of the Oak Street Chapel invited Dakdok to speak at his church on September 29. The church board of trustees has since asked Pastor Wooden to resign:
Board President Dace Julifs said Friday that Usama Dakdok’s presentation didn’t reflect any of the congregation’s views and Wooden did not adequately inform the leadership ahead of time about what would take place Thursday. The board members authorized Julifs to ask for Wooden’s resignation.
“That was a pastor gone rogue,” Julifs said. “Oak Street Chapel, we are a kind and caring and open people” [Zach Kayser, “Church Board Calls for Pastor’s Resignation over Anti-Islam Presentation,” Brainerd Dispatch, 2016.09.30].
Pastor Wooden says his board doesn’t have the authority to ask for his resignation.
Dakdok then attended a program in Detroit Lakes on October 2 to tell two Muslim speakers what their religion really says:
Two Muslim Americans, Dr. Fauzia Haider and Concordia College professor Ahmed Kamel, were guest presenters at the event.
During a question-and-answer session that followed, Dakdok stood and thanked them for coming before stating they are not theologians, adding, “which obviously, to me, means you do not know what you are talking about.
“The doctor (Haider) said that we worship the same god,” Dakdok said. “Allah is not god… your Quran does not teach that Allah has a son, therefore Allah cannot be God.”
It was the beginning of an increasingly contentious exchange.
“Do you know the Quran better than me?” Haider retorted at one point. “Who is the Muslim, you or me?”
“I am a scholar, you are not,” Dakdok responded [Vicki Gerdes, “Meet Your Muslim Neighbor Event in DL Interrupted by Anti-Muslim Activist,” DL-Online, 2016.10.05].
Dr. Haider, a Fargo physician, put this crimp in Dakdok’s Muslims-hate-America narrative:
“When my mom first came to America, she made a statement that was very interesting,” Haider said. “She said, ‘Americans are really good Muslims’… because they do what Muslims are supposed to do: They’re honest in their dealings, they don’t cheat, they don’t lie, they take care of their neighbors, there’s accountability, there’s justice — and Islam is all about having a just society. That’s what her perception was of America, and she’s a practicing Muslim” [Gerdes, 2016.10.05].
Detroit Lakes resident Paula Quam offered this extended response to Dakdok’s hate speech in this open letter after the event:
At the meeting, you tried to “educate” guest speaker Fauzia Haider on her own faith, as if you had the right to clarify what her religion should mean to her. We’re sure you would have been open to her breaking down the actual meaning of your own religious beliefs for you, but she didn’t do that. It’s almost like she thought you had the right as an American to believe in your God the way you wanted to. Huh strange. It’s weird when people break out their true American values like that [Paula Quam, “An Open Letter to the Fearmonger Who Crashed Our DL Event,” DL-Online, 2016.10.05].