ADL condemns sermons by California imams that called for destruction of Jews


(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League decried as “dangerous” sermons by two California imams that included prayers for the annihilation of Jews.

On Friday, Sheikh Ammar Shahin of the Islamic Center of Davis called for the liberation of Jersualem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and the destruction of the Jews, according to a translation of his sermon published by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. … Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them,” Shahin said, according to the translation.

Also Friday, Mahmoud Harmoush of the Islamic Center of Riverside said that Jews were planning to take over “not only Palestine” but also “most of the Middle East, and even, as I said, Mecca and Medina,” according to MEMRI.

“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Muslim lands from the unjust tyrants and the occupiers. Oh Allah, destroy them, they are no match for You. Oh Allah, disperse them, and rend them asunder. Turn them into booty in the hands of the Muslims,” Harmoush said according to MEMRI.

The ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, sharply criticized the sermons in a statement Tuesday.

“These statements are anti-Semitic and dangerous,” Greenblatt said. “We reject attempts to cast the conflict in Jerusalem as a religious war between Jews and Muslims. At this time of heightened tension, it is more important than ever for the Jewish and Muslim communities to come together to condemn the use of stereotypes and conspiracy theories, and to rebuild trust so that people of all faiths can coexist with mutual respect in the Holy Land and around the world.”

Also Tuesday, the White House lauded Israel for dismantling metal detectors near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem that had spurred violent clashes between Muslims and Israeli police, but Palestinian officials called for sustained protests.

The metal detectors were removed amid an escalation of violent protests in the West Bank and of anti-Israel rhetoric across the Muslim world. They had been installed two weeks ago earlier following the slaying of two police officers by three Arab-Israeli terrorists.

Recommended from JTA