Sunday, July 30, 2017


California Muslim leader apologizes for anti-semitic sermon calling for the 'liberation' of holy Islamic site in Jerusalem from the 'filth of the Jews'

By Jessica Finn

Daily Mail
July 29, 2017

A California imam who came under fire for a sermon that has been translated to condone the annihilation of Jews, has apologized.

Imam Ammar Shahin, of the Islamic Center of Davis, held a news conference Friday admitting his emotions clouded his judgement during the sermon on July 21.

Shahin's sermon focused on the al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews alike.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), translated Shahin's remarks as calling for God to 'liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews' and to 'annihilate them down to the very last one.'

A recent turn of events at the highly contested site prompted Shahin to give the sermon after Israeli officials put metal detectors at the site for Muslims to pass through following a recent shooting of two Israeli guards there by Arab-Israeli gunmen.

During Friday's press conference, Shahin said: 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.'

However the Islamic Center of Davis said in a statement to the Washington Post Wednesday that Sharin's statements were taken out of context by MEMRI.

'In the context of the full sermon, it becomes clear that the theme of the sermon was against oppression, and not against Jews or any religion,' the mosque statement said.

'If MEMRI and company sincerely followed Imam Ammar Shahin's work and did not just cut and paste what suits their cause, they would have come across the countless lectures and sermons he has given regarding treating all people, especially non-Muslims, with kindness and giving them their full rights, supporting them when they are oppressed.'

During Friday's news conference, Shahin said 'Commitment to defending religious rights in Jerusalem should not cause division or fan the flames of anti-semitism.'

He added '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.'

Shahin was flanked by Davis Rabbi Seth Castleman and other interfaith leaders to ease tensions over his comments that some feared could result in violence.

'I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable,' Shahin said. 'I hope to grow and develop as a more worthy leader in the community,' he added.

Rabbi Castleman thanked Shahin for his apologies and called for action. 'Apologies are only as worthy as the actions that follow, so I call upon you. I implore you to follow those words with actions,' Castleman said.

As soon as the hour long sermon hit the Internet the mosque put out statements including the one admonishing MEMRI for only taking it as a portion. A second appeared under the YouTube clip of the sermon.

In the posted YouTube clip the statement said: 'The ICD (Islamic Center of Davis) will always stand against anti-semitism similarly to how the Jewish community has always stood against Islamophobia in our close knit community. We have zero tolerance for anti-semitism or any other form of bigotry.'

Hamza El-Nakhal, a member of the Muslim community in Davis told The Enterprise 'Some people like Imam Ammar Shahin become angry for injustices. He spoke while angry. He should not have given this sermon while angry.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: He didn’t mean it. Yeah, right. Words bellowed in anger reveal the true feelings of the speaker. And in this case, the apology will not undo the harm caused by Shahin’s tirade.

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

I saw the polite little circle-jerk apology and acceptance on the news. All I can figure is that the people involved in this charade, including at least one local Rabi, thought that the point had been made and that being conciliatory was the smarter move. I can't imagine why someone would think that when dealing with an asshole that wants to literally destroy your people, but the politics of religion is strange.