Usama Dakdok

File photo: Usama Dakdok, founder of the Straight Way of Grace Ministry, speaks Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, at the Cascade Town Hall near Rochester.

An outspoken critic of Islam made his second Rochester area speaking appearance on Sunday, this time at the Rochester Public Library.

Usama Dakdok, an Egyptian Coptic Christian who's created his own translation of the Quran and considers himself a "specialist in Islam and evangelism to Muslims," gave a presentation called "Revealing the Truth about ISIS."

The two-and-a-half hour event drew about 80 people to the library's auditorium, including Rep. Cindy Pugh, R-Chanhassen, and Phillip Parrish, a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

The event's purpose, Dakdok said, was to draw attention to Islam, which he called a violent religion; he said that ISIS was a "true representation of Islam."

"There are plenty of Muslims here and we need to reach out with the truth of the gospel," Dakdok said.

Dakdok's critics say he delivers a negative and distorted view of Islam. He is known for telling listeners that Muslims are in the U.S. to behead Christians and Jews.

The speaking engagement comes just months after he was set to speak at the Stewartville Sportsman's Club — an event that was canceled after the venue learned of Dakdok's controversial message.

But supporters booked the Cascade Township town hall as a last-minute venue on Oct.29. Gary Froiland, of Stewartville, rented the township hall under the auspices of hosting a family event, without mention of Dakdok's three-hour presentation.

"He (Froiland) sent me an application (to rent the hall) under the auspices of a family event," said Sara Rudquist, acting township clerk told the Post Bulletin.

Booking the library wasn't a problem — though the event wasn't listed anywhere on the library's website. Dakdok's flier for the event also carried this disclaimer, as required by library policy: "This event does not occur in partnership with, nor is it endorsed by the Rochester Public Library or the City of Rochester."

​Have some local education news you'd like to share? Contact Taylor at 507.285.7615, or by email at tnachtigal@postbulletin.com

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