In Minnesota, They’re “Kind of” Committed to the Freedom of Speech


Islam critic Usama Dakdok was set to speak in Rochester, Minnesota, next week, but in an increasingly common chain events in what was once known as the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, his speech has been canceled for being “Islamophobic.”

It had been set to take place at the Stewartville Sportsman’s Club in Stewartville, Minnesota. But Dave Bunde, the president of the Stewartville Sportsman’s Club, explained: “In no way is our club a sponsor of political viewpoints and we do not endorse our facility to be used in such a way.” And “the general sentiment among the board, even among those who voted to cancel the event, was that Dakdok should be allowed to present his message, ‘but they didn’t think going through the club was the place,’ Bunde said.”

Fine. No problem with any of that. But then Bunde added: “I’m kind of on the side of free speech, and I’m not biased against Muslims whatsoever. I don’t have a problem with them. It’s just the ISIS parts that I have an issue with.”

I’m “kind of on the side of free speech”? That’s like being “kind of pregnant.” In reality, free speech is very like pregnancy in this regard: you either are or you aren’t. And Dave Bunde of the Stewartville Sportsman’s Club of Stewartville, Minnesota isn’t on the side of the freedom of speech at all.

Mr. Bunde, it is laudable that you aren’t “biased against Muslims whatsoever.” Nor should you be. Your remarks, however, show that you don’t actually understand the freedom of speech or its importance at all. Unless Usama Dakdok is calling for violence or for crimes to be committed, he has a right to be heard even if his views are unpopular. If you think he should be shut down because others dislike what he says, you’re in favor of setting the precedent, or reinforcing it at this point, that those who are in power can shut down the speech of those who are powerless. And while the local Muslims present themselves as a persecuted minority, in reality they are not persecuted, and they have the media and political elites behind them. They are the powerful; Dakdok and those who support him are the powerless. This is illustrated by the fact that the Rochester Public Library is hosting the pro-Islam event, while Dakdok cannot get a venue.

Matthew Stolle of the Post-Bulletin hinted that “racism” was one the reasons why the Dakdok event was canceled: “It has become apparent that a rental at the Stewartville Sportsman’s Club is being advertised as an information session targeting a specific ethnic group.”

What ethnic group is Islam again? I keep forgetting.

Stolle added: “Dakdok is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who has traveled across Minnesota promoting what his critics say is a negative, distorted view of Islam. He is known for telling listeners that Muslims are in the U.S. to behead Christians and Jews.”

Well, obviously not all of them are, but certainly some are: in Oklahoma, a Muslim beheaded his coworker and explained that the Qur’an commanded him to do so.

“Exposing Sharia,” says Dakdok’s flier. Sharia mandates the denial of the freedom of speech and the oppression of women, non-Muslims, gays, ex-Muslims, and others. Should it never be exposed? The flier also speaks about the “deception of Islam.” Muhammad said, “War is deceit.” Can we not talk about this? If Dakdok is lying, exaggerating, or fear-mongering, Regina Mustafa and the other Muslims holding the counter-event at the library should refute him on the facts. But I guarantee you that they will not offer a single substantive refutation of what he says, but instead claim that he is bringing about a “climate of fear” in which they face discrimination and harassment (of which, again, no proof will be offered). It’s a show that received rave reviews from credulous Leftist audiences all over the U.S.; why not in Rochester, Minnesota?

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Confessions of an Islamophobe. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


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