DES MOINES, Iowa — Brannon Howse, an author and radio broadcaster, goes around the country trying to teach Americans about Islam and The Quran, and the threat he believes the religion and its holy book poses to America.
“If you read it for yourself, you`ll see what the issues are,” said Howse. “The disrespect for women. The disrespect for the Jewish people. The disrespect for Christians. The disrespect for freedom of speech.”
And that’s the case Howse has been making for years, but increasingly his message is being considered too controversial to even book gigs like this one at the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Airport/Conference Center.
Howse told the audience that a lot of hotels won’t let him use their facilities anymore, and that he just found out the Radisson in Green Bay cancelled a contract it had with him for a conference there on Saturday.
Meanwhile, protesters like Glenn Hurst, say the speakers at the conference don’t know what they’re talking about.
“I`m here tonight to remind this organization that they`re not welcome and their message is not welcome here in Iowa,” said Hurst. “It`s a twisting of the data. It would be like somebody with no background in Christianity, reading the Bible and trying to present it to everybody else that has no background in it, as to what it actually means.”
John Guandolo, president of Understanding the Threat, spoke to the crowd about terms like Sharia and Jihad, and how he says they’re dangerous.
But local Muslim leader Ako Abdul-Samad says the meaning of those words can be interpreted in different ways and have been misunderstood by many.
“The Jihad that we talk about in the The Quran, prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said very clearly that the Jihad is the Jihad of an-Nafs, which means the Jihad of self. You`re Jihad is within you and every religion has a Jihad.”
But Guandolo disagrees.
“That’s absolutely not true,” said Guandolo. “In Islam, there’s only one legal definition for Jihad, and that’s warfare against non-muslims.”