I attended Usama Dakdok’s talk a couple weeks ago. It was tougher for me to be there than I expected. It was rough to make sense of a lot of what I saw happen at the VFW in Little Falls, MN – mostly because nearly everyone in that room was of the same faith I am.
As I walked in and found my seat near the front of the room, I recoginized a good number of people from other anti-Muslim/anti-immigrant talks I’ve attended in St. Cloud. Many people there knew my name, some greeted me, and some mumbled under their breath as I passed. Later Ron Bransner would tell me that he pointed me out to Usama before his talk so he would know who I was. Usama was glad to know who I was, he said, because he was there to minister to “people like me.”
As I sat down, I overheard the conversation from some folks behind me: “Look at the age of people at this event! I mean, where are all the young people that need to know about this?” The average age of the attendees was probably 60-70 years old. A reporter was going around asking folks from why they were there: “We have to educate ourselves,” one man said, “because Muslim culture is a HUGE issue – I mean, we have to keep our freedoms and constitution intact!”
The night kicked off with a video plug for Usama’s books that were for sale in the backof the room, calling on us to “gain knowledge” that would “protect ourselves and the gospel”. At the close of the video, Ron B. came up and gave an introduction too Usama, hailing him as “the best speaker in the nation and the world” and as one of his teachers as he has studied the Qur’an for a year. Ron reminded us that “Muslims are human, but they have different beliefs than us” and then called a local pastor up who prayed that we would “rise up and do what we need to do as Americans.” I’m still not at all sure what that means.
Usama took the stage and let us know that his talk that night was called “Allah is Satan, Jesus is God.” Throughout his talk he used verses from the Qur’an and the Bible to make his points. He said many times in his talk that the point of his ministry was to bring people to know Jesus. He said that the way to know Jesus is through the Bible, and that Jesus is God. I know that the Bible, in the book of 1st John, chapter 4 verse 8, says that God is love. So, in my estimation, it seems that Usama wants people to know that Jesus=God, so says the Bible, and the Bible says God=love, so the end game here for his ministry is love. Love.
What is love? Well, since Usama spoke from a Christian perspective, let’s use a definition from the Bible, 1st Corinthians chapter 13 and check it with some of the quotes Usama said that night:
Love is patient and kind.
- “Liberals in America are useful idiots.” (The crowd found this quite amusing and laughed harder each time he said it.)
- “You stupid Americans”, “Are you stupid?”, “You can’t be that stupid!”, etc (the word stupid was used 40+ times)
Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.
- “Someday I will die at the hand of a Muslim for you.”
- “I give more money to charity than you do.”
- “There are many pastors in America that aren’t getting mad and yelling like I am. I think they are all gay.”
Love does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins out.
- “None of the Christians on this earth hate one another.” False.
- “If people do bad things, they are not Christians.” False.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures under any circumstance.
- “Sure, believe a Muslim, you stupid Americans, until they take off your head.”
- “If (Muslims) grow their beard or cover their head, they will most certainly rise up against you.”
- “Are all Muslims in America sleeper agents? Yes. A Muslim is a Muslim.”
Usama and I talked for nearly an hour after he finished presenting. I shared my faith with him, the miracles my family has seen that we attribute to the Lord, and the way Jesus met me in my darkest hours. He shared with me similar stories of the faith we share. Yes, the faith we SHARE. There is no reason for me to claim he is not a Christian while I am, and that I am somehow better than him or that he is inherently evil. That would be boasting in a pride that I don’t want to wear. Instead, I want to wear love, walk in love, and have people taste love when I talk. I won’t always do this right, and Lord knows even in the year #unitecloud has been around, I haven’t always gotten it right. Live and learn – and LOVE OUT LOUD.