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Local leaders look to shut down hate speech after anti-Islam speaker visits again
by Sarah Volpenhein
Grand Forks stakeholders agreed Friday the city must counteract the potential "stain" of hate speech on Grand Forks, but did not settle on a collective course of action, in light of recent visits by an anti-Islam speaker at the Empire Arts Center.
Bret Weber, a City Council member and social work professor at UND, cautioned attendees the city wanted to be wary of "acquiescing" to ideas spread by people like Christian speaker Usama Dakdok, who travels the U.S. preaching about the "dangers of Islam." Dakdok, who was at the Empire Arts Center Thursday, has called Islam a "disease" and a "cult," saying it makes victims of Muslims who do not understand their religion.
"Acquiescence can lead to acceptance, and acceptance can lead to an appearance of endorsement," said Weber, referring to anti-Islam rhetoric, at the beginning of the meeting.
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