Protesters Outnumber Anti-Islam Crowd In Missoula
About 150 people congregated on both sides of the street outside a hotel in Missoula last night to denounce an anti-Islamic lecture taking place inside.
That’s roughly twice as many people as came to hear the lecture, sponsored by the Lake County chapter of the group ACT for America.
Eamon Ormseth represents the group SALAM, or, Standing Alongside American Muslims. He helped organize the protest.
“As long as this group and groups like them are continuing to talk about Islam in a hateful, unfair way and creating a climate where hate speech and violence against Muslims is on the rise, we will continue to engage with that," Ormseth said.
ACT for America invited a pastor from Spokane, Shahram Hadian, to speak about what he calls “the fallacies of a peaceful Islam.”
Hadian spoke for more than two hours. The talk cost twenty dollars and blended vitriol about Islam with criticisms of current U.S. policy allowing for the resettlement of refugees from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.
Hadian was born in Iran and converted to Christianity from Islam.
Although human rights organizations have accused ACT for America of using hate speech to advance their agenda, Hadian says he is telling another side of a story.
“Unfortunately you don’t see many presentations like this giving the other side of the of the equation," Hadian said. "Most presentations, most stuff that’s happening in the community, in the universities, from the media side, is on the pro-refugee side.”
The non-profit International Rescue Committee recently resettled five refugee families from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Missoula. Its goal is to help more refugees do the same.
Hadian is scheduled to speak again in Kalispell on Thursday.