Barely six months ago — at the supposedly mainstream Islamic Center of Davis in Davis, California, an imam gave a sermon during which he plainly appeared (on video, no less) to exhort his congregants to pray for the mass murder of all Jews — and to even actively participate in genocide.
During imam Ammar Shahin’s sermon on July 21, 2017 — where he was addressing his congregation about the controversy regarding Israel placing metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque (shortly after two Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen there) — he said:
Allah does not change the situation of people ‘until they change their own situation.’ The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah …’ They will not say: ‘Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani.’ The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews.
As if that wasn’t enough hate and incitement to murder for one sermon, Shahin added:
Liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. … Annihilate them down to the very last one. … Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this.
The response to this incitement by a purportedly mainstream imam — across the street from the very liberal University of California at Davis — was remarkably muted. With the exception of the local press, as well as some conservative and Jewish publications, it received almost no media attention.
Perhaps because of this impuissant response, the Islamic Center of Davis’s initial reaction was typical of many guilty parties after they are caught on tape saying something heinous — namely, claiming that the imam was “taken out of context.”
After the few local media outlets and Jewish publications even paying attention to the issue responded with the requisite incredulity to the duplicitous “out of context” claim, the center then issued a quasi-apology, saying in part:
If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended. We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony.
Misconstrued? Their imam was caught “red-handed” on tape referring to “filthy Jews” and repeatedly encouraging his own congregants to mass-murder Jews. The overt racism, xenophobia and calls for genocide by the imam was clear; yet the Islamic Center of Davis chose to try and claim that his words were “taken out of context” and only when that didn’t work, they chose to hide behind the most weaselly of apologies.
Sadly, this faux-apology worked; and within a few short weeks, no one in the media or even in Davis appeared to care that a genocidal demagogue — masking himself as clergy for a supposedly mainstream mosque — was continuing to lecture at that mosque.
If this kind of behavior was ignored once, that would be horrific — considering how many times over the last few centuries that sermons by demagogic imams have led to the actual slaughter of Jews.
But sadly, this story has repeated itself, at least five times.
That’s right. At least five times in the last six months, five different imams in five different supposedly run-of-the-mill mosques throughout the US (in California, Texas, New Jersey and Virginia) have been caught on tape preaching about the alleged moral infirmity and evil of Jews, the filth of the Jews, and have called for the murder of Jews.
The most recent of these incidents happened on December 8, 2017 — and the video of the event was released to the public on January 8, 2018, by the website MEMRI:
On December 8, imam Abdullah Khadra, a Syrian imam who now lives in the US after he was granted political asylum in 2011, delivered a sermon (after Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), with a full-on genocidal rant.
First, Khadra claimed that all of Israel is “stolen Muslim land,” which in time will all be “returned” to Muslims. Regarding how it would be returned, Khadra turned to the same antisemitic Hadith that imam Shahin touted in Davis, saying: “The Prophet Muhammed gave us the glad tidings … we will fight those Jews until the rocks and the trees will speak: Oh Muslim, this is a Jew behind me.” The continuation of this sadly well-known Hadith is that the rocks and the trees will then say: “come and kill him.”
Further inciting violence, Khadra said: “We should teach our children that it is our land and will remain our land, and will return to us sooner or later. But the question is: Will you be among those who will contribute to regaining it or not?”
Perhaps concerned that he had not done enough to motivate his flock to kill Jews, Khadra said:
These occupiers, aggressors, and murderers can never take our holy city — only if we are dead. … May Allah make us of those who are alive, who are aware of their holy places, who are defending their religion, and who move by all possible means to defend their rights.”
Khadra then added:
The wall at which [the Prophet Muhammad] tied his … animal is reserved by the Muslims. It is called the ‘Wall of the Ascent to Heaven’ or the ‘Wall of Buraq.’ Even that wall — those occupiers made some legends, and they made it their own wall, and they distorted the facts.
Meaning, Jews are evil people, with no connection to the land of Israel. They are so evil, that they make up stories (aka “legends”) about Islamic holy sites and pretend that they are somehow holy sites to Jews — only because King Solomon built a pretty well-known Temple in Jerusalem a mere 1,700 years before Muhammed’s famous night ride. And it is because these Jews are so evil that they lie about their connection to the land, which is why even the rocks and trees will eventually help kill them.
That was the unmistakable message of Khadra’s sermon.
One would think that when the video of this fifth sermon in under six months calling for the murder of Jews hit social media, that it would instantly “go viral” — and that the outrage would be almost universal, and calls for reform and introspection would be widespread.
After all, imagine if five pastors in mainstream Christian churches throughout the US had been caught on tape preaching such hate and exhortation to murder in less than half a year? The outcry for those pastors to be ostracized would have been near-universal. Every mainstream news organization would rightly have run with the story, along with calls for these churches to reform themselves, and to purge themselves of such fanatics.
But in response to Khadra’s sermon, just days after it was revealed that a different imam in Jersey City, New Jersey (who incredibly was a member of the NJ Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council), called Jews “apes and pigs” and asked for Allah’s help to “kill them down to the very last one” and to not “leave a single one on the face of the earth,” the outcry (if it could be called that) was again limited to a few local news outlets, some conservative media papers, and a scant few Jewish publications.
How is that a mere 75 years after the Holocaust, after many cities in Europe have once again turned into places where it is an act of bravery for a Jew to walk down the street with a kippah on his head, that so many people in America — including Jews –are so ambivalent to such raw antisemitism?
Can it be political correctness — or the “soft bigotry of low expectations”? Why is it that when white supremacists chant “Jews will not replace us,” that the mainstream media and practically all mainstream Jewish groups and organizations immediately decry the antisemitism? Yet, after five imams call for the murder of the “filthy” Jews, our collective response is so indiscernible that it can’t even be picked up on CNN?
It cannot be politically correct to ignore raw Jew-hatred or calls for genocide — no matter who is making those statements.
The reality is that there are many Muslims, particularly in the US, who find such raw Jew-hatred and incitement repugnant. Therefore, ignoring such hatred simply because the speaker is Muslim is — in and of itself — racist. If we do not ignore white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us” (which we shouldn’t), then we certainly should not ignore sermons by racist imams either, particularly those who are trying to incite their congregants to murder Jews.
So, unless the Jewish community in America wants Jewish life in America to start resembling Jewish life in many parts of Europe — where violent attacks against Jewish life and property are becoming ubiquitous — we better start treating all antisemitic rants as equally repugnant, and demanding of all people what we demand of ourselves. After all, does anyone doubt that if a rabbi were caught on tape saying such things in a mainstream synagogue in the US, that he would be fired in under 24 hours? Meanwhile, not one of these five imams have been fired. Not one.