Controversial speakers spark debate, protests in Oakland, Iowa
Controversial events held in the metro have been received with mixed feelings. Some call them informative in the fight against terrorism. Others say they're hateful and Islamophobic.
Things got so tense at an event in Oakland, Iowa Thursday that law enforcement had to get involved.
"Our intention is to go in and put in ear plugs, hold up newspapers and ignore this entire event. We will not be engaging in the debate,” said Glenn Hurst, Pott. County Supervisor Candidate.
"It's a peaceful presentation,” said Jackie Cordon with Indivisible Iowa.
Some stood outside with signs that had messages like, “spread love” and “no racist USA.” Others, like Gale Brown, came to hear the speakers discuss what they call a growing Muslim threat concern.
Reporter: "What do you think that threat is?"
Reporter: "Which Muslim have you met that's presented themselves like that?"
Brown: "I haven't really met, the only one is really Mark."
Mark Christian is with the Global Faith Institute – one of the co-organizers of the event.
Christian didn't want to speak with WOWT 6 News.
Reporter: "Do you think they're willing to take questions?"
Jeff Jorgenson: "At this point, no. I don't think they are."
Jorgenson is the co-chair of the Pottawattamie County Republicans but on Thursday he's a private citizen. That's because his own local and state party have distanced themselves from the events.
"I want to learn more about the threat that we're facing in this country from Muslim groups from Muslim extreme Muslim organizations,” said Jorgenson.
He was upset by the silent protesters inside the event. So much that he called 911.
Deputies called to the event didn't remove anyone because they weren't deemed disruptive by only reading newspapers or clogging ears with headphones or cotton balls.
“We need to send the message to these groups that we're not going to talk to them,” said Hurst.
"I just have very little tolerance for Muslims,” said Brown.