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Usama Dakdok returns to Grand Forks

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Grand Forks, ND (WDAZ-TV) - A controversial religious speaker is coming back to Grand Forks, for a third time.

While community members have opposing viewpoints on the subject, tonight we learn why he is being invited back to town.

Usama Dakdok brought controversy to the Grand Forks community, not once, but twice and now he is coming here for a third time in eight months. The Christian speaker talks about what he calls the wickedness of Islam.

The man bringing him back: city councilor Terry Bjerke. Dakdok is often met with protest across the country in an effort to keep him away. Bjerke believes those stances violate our first amendment rights.

“Our country is founded on free speech, political and religious free speech is one of the founding blocks of this country and so I think it's important that whenever there's an attempt to silence political and religious speech that as citizens we speak up and defend it,” said Terry Bjerke, Grand Forks City Council Ward 1.

Bjerke not only sent the invitation, he donated part of his council salary for it and will be speaking with Dakdok on stage.

“Mr. Dakdok I believe is speaking on freedom as it relates to Islam, I'm going to speak on free speech is diversity and we are allowed to talk about diversity,” said Bjerke.

The first time Dakdok came, 150 protestors lined up outside the event. During his event last month, an alternative forum was held regarding the Muslim culture. Opponents recognize the freedom of speech, but say the community has a right to choose who represents them.

QFM Radio is once again sponsoring the Dakdok event.

“As people know there's been some back and forth about freedom issues, free speech and so forth, potential censorship of someone coming to town to speak and so he just wanted to raise awareness about the importance of freedom,” said Phil Ehlke, Your QFM Radio General Manager.

Bjerke also said people have the right to have opposing opinions, but not when it violates free speech.

“The day we start trying to take that away, is the day this country is no longer going to be what it was founded upon,” said Bjerke.

The event is scheduled for November third at 7 p.m. in the Empire Arts Center.