Anti-Islam Speaker Sparks Protest at St. Cloud Church [Photos]
ST. CLOUD -- A #UniteCloud and SURJ MN (Standing up for Racial Justice -- Minnesota) protest flooded the bike trails surrounding a St. Cloud church this (Friday) evening.
Nearly 100 people gathered in the rain along side County Road 134, just outside of the Granite City Baptist Church, to stand up against an anti-Islam speaker.
Usama Dakdok made the Granite City Baptist Church his fourth and final stop in central Minnesota.
Dakdok is the founder of the Florida-based Straight Way of Grace Ministry and travels the country giving speeches about his fears that Islam is a dangerous cult. He says that the Quran does not teach love or peace and Islam teaches followers to kill non-believers.
During Dakdok speeches he points out specific Quran verses that he believes teaches violence and proves the religion does not teach peace.
Dakdok says 79 verses in the Quran speak about war and how Allah declares war against the infidels. Dakdok says chapter 5 verse 72 of the Quran clarifies that all those who believe Jesus Christ is God are infidels and verse 73 states all those who believe in the trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) are infidels.
"To know the punishment of Allah on the infidels you go to chapter 47 verse 4, that's when Allah said when you meet those who are infidels, strike the necks until you have made a great slaughter among them. So Allah called Christians in the Quran infidels in 5:72, 5:73, and Allah in Quran commanded his Muslim believers to behead the Christians in 47:4." --Dakdok
Dakdok's appearance at the church sparked controversy within the community and vandalism was discovered on the church earlier today. Most of the profanity spray painted on the front of the church has been removed.
Pastor Dennis Campbell says his goal and the churches goal is to spread the word of Jesus Christ with anyone.
"We would like to give them (the protesters) a message, Jesus Christ is the way of the truth and the life and no man cometh unto the father but by Jesus and we want to invite them to Jesus," says Campbell.
Protesters however believe Dakdok's speeches provide an inaccurate portrayal of Islam and are hateful.
Thersea Skorseth of Little Falls says she attended Dakdo's speech in Little Falls earlier this week but couldn't sit through the entire discussion.
"I could only stay for 15 to 20 minutes before I got so sick I had to leave, it was just sickening his rhetoric, so we protested there (Little Falls) and here (St. Cloud) just to be a presence and speak against that level of hatred," says Skorseth.
#UniteCloud follower Thomas Skahen of St. Joseph says he doesn't agree with Dakdok's opinions and is focusing on making his community welcoming to everyone.
"I feel very passionate about the issue of immigration in our country and I want to do all I can to try to promote an atmosphere of acceptance and welcoming to those who might look for opportunity in our country," says Skahen.
#UniteCloud co-founder Haji Yussuf says the goal of the protest was to bring together people of different faiths in the community so they can learn from each other and contribute to a peaceful community.
"We are here to peacefully be active in our conversations and try to have a conversation about different neighbors that live in St. Cloud -- neighbors that know each other of different faiths," says Yussuf.
#UniteCloud also set up a "Cookies and Conversation" booth where community members could talk and learn more about each other.
Granite City Baptist Church seated a full house for Dakdok's speech.