A meeting at Granite City Baptist Church regarding the Muslim faith sparked passion and outrage on both sides present during Thursday evening’s combined presentation and protest, taking part in a national debate about religious identity.
Shahram Hadian, a well-renowned pastor from Washington state known for his teachings in which Christianity and Isalm are not similar faiths, preaching Muslims should adopt the Christian Doctrine, hosted the event, giving a speech to the congregation. He firmly believes Muslims need to turn to Jesus to “be saved” and “repent,” even mentioning he believes some churches within his congregation have been “led astray” by normalizing this type of relationship.
Hadian claims he left Iran in 1978 just before the Islamic Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, bringing Sharia Law. During part of his presentation, he took out a legal book about Sharia Law, which he said the law wasn’t good anymore and that it claimed Judaism and Christianity need to be repealed.
Many demonstrators outside were against the messages being conveyed inside, saying they were racist and bigoted.
“I am here to be against what he [Hadian] stands for,” one protester said.
Another said they acknowledge, “we are all people, we all have similar needs, we all need a community, we all want a safe community and I think by being here we are kind of representing that. There’s a lot of division in this country right now and we’re trying to bring people together.”
Many others among the opposition group all said they thought the speaker was “anti-Muslim” and that there’s a lot of hate going on inside the church and that they all stand in solidarity, noting they want to stand up for those in the Muslim community.
Spectators inside the church thought the speech thought Hadian hit the nail right on the head, saying they thought his message was not promoting hate.
“I am a Christ-follower,” said Sandi Eggers, “I believe in the Biblical message, I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, he was spot on about the scripture and he’s not a hater.”
Frank Leticha, another attendee at the event echoes Eggers opinion.
“I think the notion of love and hate is being redefined in a very sad way and specifically what I’m seeing is that for me to be perceived as a lover, I have to somehow roll over and accept error and accept something that’s very sad and unfortunate and for me to question that, suddenly throws me into the hater category,” Leticha said. “So I reject this notion, this redefinition of love and hate under those terms.”
Kyle Fahrmann and Sarv Mithaqiyan contributed to this report.
*The University Chronicle was not allowed to bring in recording equipment of any kind into Granite City Baptist Church and therefore is showing through photos of the protest occurring outside only.*