The Middle East Media Research institute translated Ammar Shahin’s two-hour long sermon and posted it online. Shahin is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Davis.
The translation revealed that Shahin was calling for the annihilation of Jews, and asked his higher power to liberate Al Asqa mosque from their filth.
This was in reference to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Israeli government installed metal detectors after two soldiers were killed by a terrorist.
“He spelled out what he wishes for every Muslim who follows the Quran and the Hadith to follow what the Hadith says which is …find the Jews hiding behind trees and stones and kill them,” Sorele Brownstein stated.
“To me, it’s clear this is direct incitement,” Rabbi Shmary Brownstein said.
Shmary Brownstein and Sorele, his wife, are the leaders of the Chabad in Davis. They stated that they’d been on guard since the video surfaced online. Their family has been harassed by drivers passing by their home, a house of worship.
“Cars driving by screaming ‘eff you!’” Rabbi Mendy Cohen of Chabad in Sacramento said.
He is afraid that the situation might escalate.
“This is what we suffered throughout the years. We’re not going to let Davis become like the neighborhoods in Paris where police can’t go,” he said.
The Imam has not made a comment about the summon, but the Islamic Center of Davis released a statement maintaining that the sermon had been taken out of context.
Officials later issued an apology, which reads:
The ICD 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.
On July 21st, 2017, Imam Ammar Shahin gave a sermon at the ICD. The sermon was about the theological virtues of one of Islam’s holiest sites, Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also addressed the recent horrific events including the illegal closure, occupation, and attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to the killing and injuring of Muslim worshipers, including the wounding of the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the prevention of worship and the call to prayer at the Mosque. Specifically, the Imam was referring to individuals that are contributing to this oppression.
Imam Shahin and the ICD reject any attempt to blame all Jews for Israel’s policies just like we reject the attempts to blame all Muslims for the acts of fringe groups. In reality, Jews around the world are on the front lines speaking out and protesting Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians.
MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.
If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended. We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony.
MEMRI’s video included an edited segment about a Prophetic tradition dealing with the apocalyptic battle between Jesus and the Antichrist. Prophetic traditions addressing the end of times are not meant to address modern conflicts, the Imam was using the tradition to address unity and coming back to the faith.
For more background information on this Prophetic tradition, see: The Myth of An Antisemitic Genocide In Muslim Scripture.
During these emotional times it’s important for all parties to use restrained language and maintain respect.
The ICD welcomes all people to come to our Mosque to find out what we really teach, we have an open-door policy. The community plans to hold an interfaith townhall in the near future.