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California Imam Calls for Violence Against Jews, Local Rabbis Take Action

California Imam Calls for Violence Against Jews, Local Rabbis Take Action

After an Imam at Mosque in Davis, California made an antisemitic sermon, local Rabbis reported it to the authorities. 

Only a few blocks away from the mosque is the Chabad of Davis and the Rabbi, Shmary Brownstein took the threat from Iman Ammar Shahin very seriously.

“Oh Allah, liberate the Al Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews…” said Shahin in Arabic on July 21. “Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one.” 

The sermon followed an attack on the Al Aqsa mosque when two Israeli Druze police officers were killed nearby. 

The entire sermon was also caught on video. Local Rabbis quickly took action following the anti-Semitic statements. 

“Secretary Kelly, as you know, Imam Ammar Shahin has deployed a tried and true script that has been used by Islamist extremists to incite murder and mayhem around the world. By explicitly urging Muslims to annihilate all Jews by their own hands, Shahin has crossed the line beyond protected speech. Homeland Security knows better than anyone else that Islamist terrorism — fueled by religious fanatics — constitutes the number one threat to the safety and security of the American people. In addition, American Jews are the number one target of religious-based hate crimes in our nation. As such we believe that US authorities, led by Homeland Security, have an obligation to fully investigate and take all appropriate actions in response to this explicit call to murder Jews,” wrote SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Interfaith Affairs Director Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein in a joint letter to John Kelley, Secretary of Homeland Security.

The mosque felt the need to clarify Shahin’s statements claiming the real meaning got lost in translation and there was no call for violence on the Jewish community.

“It was clear to all those who listened to the entire sermon that Imam Shahin was not calling towards anti-Semitism nor towards violence against any religion. Rather, he is known for his stance against extremism and his condemnation of un-Islamic groups which promote such views. This has always been the position of the Imam and the ICD,” according to the Mosque’s statement. “Ahlik, in the Arabic language, means destroy, a supplication that is generally used against oppressors. MEMRI’s deliberate and erroneous translation to promote their agenda is unacceptable and aims to portray people of faith against each other.”

Shahin also issued a statement apologizing for hurting the local Jewish residents. 

“To the Jewish community, here in Davis and beyond, I say this: I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused. The last thing I would do is intentionally hurt anyone, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. It is not in my heart, nor does my religion allow it,” said Shahin. 

He also said his comments were “specifically about this group shutting down the mosque — these soldiers, or settlers, or fighters, or oppressors” not about all Jews.  

Shahin met with other Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders at a conference Friday.  

“Commitment to defending religious rights in Jerusalem should not cause division or fan the flames of anti-Semitism,” said Shahin. “Today, I commit to working harder and will join efforts for mutual understanding and building bridges. As a young religious leader, this has humbled me.”

Author’s note: I am not sure how “filth of the Jews” and “annihilate” could be lost in translation and mean something else. Not to mention, Shahin included some oral traditions about how Jews and Muslims have always been enemies. This sermon was clearly rooted in hate.  

 Editor’s note: Aaaaaaaaargh!

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