Syrian scholar Firas Al-Sawwah said in a March 3, 2019 interview on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that the Al-Aqsa Mosque that was mentioned in the Quran was not in Jerusalem, and that Caliph Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan had decided to build a holy place in Jerusalem and call it Al-Aqsa. He said that a general Arab-Muslim cultural revival that would include a critical review of Arab and Muslim history is necessary. Al-Sawwah also said that the hadiths should be critically examined to determine which ones are true and false, and he recalled having laughed in eighth grade when the teacher taught the class the hadith about the trees and rocks calling Muslims to kill Jews hiding behind them. He explained that the class laughed because they had been "raised on modern thought" and it made no sense to them that trees or rocks would speak.
To view the clip of Firas Al-Sawwah on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
Following MEMRI's March 6, 2019 publication of a report on antisemitic sermons delivered by Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia, PA between November 2018 and February 2019, Al-Aqsa Islamic Society officials issued an apology.
On March 8, 2019, Board of Trustees secretary Chukri Khorchid and Imam Mohamed Shehata posted on the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society website: "Al Aqsa Islamic Society rejects anti-Semitism in any form. We are shocked and outraged to learn that one of our guest speakers said reprehensible anti-Jewish remarks on the floor of Al Aqsa. This in no way represents our beliefs or policies. We condemn this action and will make sure that this never happens again. We expect that all guest speakers will respect and uphold our policy that hatred against any group of people or religion will not be tolerated."
While the mosque statement noted "We are shocked and outraged to learn that one of our guest speakers" had made these statements, at the conclusion of Abouhatab's January 11, 2019 sermon, as worshipers prepared to leave, a mosque leader, likely Imam Mohamed Shehata himself, took the microphone and said: "On behalf of all of you, I would like to extend our gratitude to Sheikh Abdelmohsen Abouhattab for this good sermon." Similar expressions of gratitude by the same mosque leader were repeated after each of Abouhatab's sermons.
Source: Alaqsaislamicsociety.com, March 9, 2019.
On March 9, Imam Abouhatab issued a "Public Statement" on his website, English and Arabic, denying that his statements were antisemitic, citing Quran verses and stating, in English: "I am not against any religion and what was attributed to me is completely false. I do not promote hate, nor do I insight [sic] violence. The religion of Islam calls me to living peacefully alongside others who share different faiths, and to never transgress against the rights of others, while always speaking the words of truth when need be and under the shade of the law."
He continued: "I firmly stand by my right to express ideas, words, speech, opinion and thoughts as afforded to me and protected by the First amendment of the United States constitution. And I reject any campaign or attempt that depicts me as an extremist or a bigot." Additionally, according to a March 11 media report, he said that his statements had been "taken out of context to accuse me of antisemitism."
Sites.google.com/view/abdelmohsen-abouhatab/home, accessed March 12, 2019.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas recently appointed his longtime advisor Muhammad Ishtayeh to the position of prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. In 2010, MEMRI TV released a clip of Ishtayeh's interview on July 9 of that year with Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV; in that interview, Ishtayeh said of Abu Daoud, the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, that "the martyr Abu Daoud continues the convoy of martyrs who fell for the sake of Palestine. We all follow this path."
To view the clip of Muhammad Ishtayeh on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"The Martyr Abu Daoud Continues The Convoy Of Martyrs Who Fell For The Sake Of Palestine – We All Follow This Path"
Muhammad Ishtayeh: "The martyr Abu Daoud continues the convoy of martyrs who fell for the sake of Palestine. We all follow this path. As for the claim that history can be rewritten in a different way – I think it is unjust to say that Palestinian history can be written in a different ink."
Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab, who is of Egyptian origin, delivered several antisemitic sermons at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia, PA between November 2018 and February 2019. On February 15, 2019, he said that the Jews are the vilest people in terms of their nature and moral values and that the "nefarious" Jewish media causes people to see the Muslim as an "oppressive and predatory lion." He said that the "enemies of Allah" are ordering heads of state to come to the Knesset, where they sit and "plot against their people, according to what the others want." Abouhatab then told his audience that in one of Israel's wars, then-Israeli PM Menachem Begin had once made bets on whether a pregnant woman was carrying a boy or a girl before slitting her belly open to find out. He added: "If faith had taken root in our hearts... we would have imposed the word of Islam upon the world."
On January 11, 2018, Imam Abouhatab said that the propaganda and media are controlled by the Jews, who make people think that "power lies with 15 million people who own and control the riches of the world." On November 16, 2018, Imam Abouhatab said that an Israeli prime minister had once been asked about the hadith about the rocks and the trees calling to Muslims to kill the Jews hiding behind them, and that he had answered: "The hadith is true, but we are doing our best to prevent this."
While Abouhatab was not introduced by name in the sermons, a mosque official said at the conclusion of one of them: "We thank Abdelmohsen Abouhatab for his wonderful sermon." The videos were live streamed on the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society's YouTube channel.
Profile picture from Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab's Facebook page (Facebook.com/abdelmohsen.abouhatab)
Imam Abouhatab in original video on Al-Aqsa Islamic Society YouTube channel.
The Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, which operates a full-time private Islamic school, the Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy, and also maintains the city's Arab American Development Corporation, is known for its interfaith activity in the area. According to its website, it has hosted Philadelphia's Interfaith Peacewalk since 2003, and "is partnered with many community groups and organizations in the area, including programs for the arts, interfaith, community improvement, social services, peace walks, and more."
Mauritanian cleric Muhammad Ould Dedew said in a February 12 show on Dorar TV (Sudan) that the Jews are the enemies of Allah and of economy and that they use false means to plunder the wealth of others. He said that they are behind insurance companies, casinos, lotteries, and usurious banks. He also said that the Christians are arrogant and haughty by nature. In a February 5, 2019 show on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza), Dedew said that there will be two great wars with the Jews in which they will be the followers of the Antichrist and in which the rocks and the trees will call out to Muslims saying that there are Jews hiding behind them. In addition, he said that the Zionists are a wretched people and that Jerusalem will be liberated soon.
To view the clip of Muhammad Ould Dedew on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
An article in the Saudi government daily Al-Watan, by the daily's columnist Muhammad Al-Sa'idi, claimed that the Jews deliberately promote the publication and circulation of antisemitic literature in Arab countries that describes them as secretly running the world. This, in order to convince the Arabs of their power and thereby demoralize and frighten them. When the same literature appears in the West, he added, the Jews fight it in order to maintain their positive image there and present themselves as victims. Al-Sa'idi claimed further that Israel's real foreign policy is the opposite of what its officials present: it maintains close ties with its alleged enemies, such as Iran and Qatar, while pretending to be friendly with countries that actually have no ties with it, like Saudi Arabia.
The following are excerpts from the article:
At an April 1996 conference at an unknown location, Pakistani-born Canadian Imam Zafar Bangash praised Imam Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie as the "first direct challenge to the West's political hegemony" because, according to him, the publishing of The Satanic Verses was a carefully calculated attack against Islam that Muslims should not tolerate. He said that Muslims cannot coexist with the West because they violate all of Allah's commandments. He gave the example of Western girls, who he said commit adultery and fornication at the age of 10 and 12 right in front of their brothers and fathers. He also criticized the West for being "proud of being homosexuals," and said: "It is time for us to pick up the stones to stone these people to death for [this] abomination... Allah imposes [this responsibility] upon us." In a different speech from the same event, Bangash told the audience not to be surprised by the behavior of the Jews in Israel because they are the same Jews that murdered the prophets of Allah. He said that there is something wrong with Muslims who treat the Jews as friends, and he assured the audience that the Jews, Christians, polytheists, and infidels will "spare no effort" to ruin Muslims because of the hatred that they harbor against them.
During another conference at an unknown location that took place sometime in 2000, Bangash said that he was communicating with mujahideen who were fighting against the Russians in Chechnya and called on the audience to support them, saying: "Our responsibility is that we help them financially and extend help to them materially so that [they] will remain steadfast." Imam Bangash is still active today and preaches at the Islamic Society of York Region in Ontario. He is the director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) and is on the editorial board of Toronto-based Crescent International alongside U.S.-based Imam Muhammad Al-Asi (see MEMRI TV clip no. 6675 Al-Quds Day Sermon by Imam Muhammad Al Asi in Washington D.C.: The Zionist Colonialist Force Must Be Dislodged, If Necessary with Non-Peaceful Means, June 21, 2018, and MEMRI TV clip no. 1264 Iranian TV 9/11 Special: Western Experts Say Both 9/11 And Pearl Harbor Were Planned by the American Administration, September 10, 2006). Crescent International's website says that it is an ICIT publication that promotes a "global Islamic movement perspective on current affairs based on the ideas of Dr. Kalim Siddiqui."
To view the clip of Zafar Bangash on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
In an article he posted on the Arabic Ida2at.com website, Egyptian journalist and academic Ahmad Al-Bahnasi, a researcher of Jewish studies and Israeli Orientalism, called on Islamic institutes to publish an "Islamic" Hebrew translation of the Quran. This is necessary, he said, because the existing Hebrew translations of the Quran, produced by Jews, are riddled with errors as well as deliberate omissions and distortions. It is also important due to the interest in Islam and the Quran among Jews and Israelis, which has been growing recently, and in light of the growing number of Jewish Israelis converting to Islam, he explained. Al-Bahnasi added that an accurate translation of the Quran would constitute a form of "academic resistance" (muqawama 'ilmiyya) to Israel and help in spreading Islam among Jews. He proposed to involve Israeli Arabs in this project, including the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, since they know Hebrew well and are familiar with Israeli and Jewish culture.
Ahmad Al-Bahnasi (source: Youtube.com, December 31, 2016)
In his November 14, 2018 column in the Al-Riyadh daily, Saudi writer 'Abdallah Bin Bakhit wrote sarcastically that whoever wants to understand "the Jewish conspiracy against the world" must acknowledge the reasons for the Jews' success in the West and the reasons for the Arabs' backwardness there. The Jews, he wrote, managed to become integrated in the Western society and culture, and to achieve leading roles in it and make significant achievements, while the Arabs failed to do so. One of the reasons for the gap between the Jews and Arabs, he added, is that the Jews have few children and give them the best possible education; but the main reason is that the Jews, unlike the Arabs, adapt their lifestyle to Western norms and do not try to impose their religious values on their surroundings. That is why "we now see them standing at the pinnacles of science, culture, art, literature and politics," he concluded.
The following are excerpts from his article:
'Abdallah Bin Bakhit (image: Alarabiya.net)
"The difference between the Jews and Arabs is large. One of the many [differences] concerns their affiliation with Western culture. The Jews are part of Western culture. Their harmonic [relations] with it are organic, and their contribution to it is endless. Looking at cinema, literature or drama, one encounters too many Jewish names to ignore. Looking at people in the media and press, one finds that the most famous and prominent names [belong to] Jews. Everyone is aware of their presence in finance and business – their traditional arena of activity – and everyone knows that they are dominant among the lecturers in universities and centers of research and learning. Take any respectable profession, and you will find that the proportion of Jews in it is conspicuously large."
In response to February 15, 2019 statements by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the Munich Security Conference accusing Iran of Nazi-like antisemitism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded, in a February 16, 2019 interview with the German daily Der Spiegel, that Iran was not antisemitic and that it had "always supported the Jews," that it was "against the Zionists" and that the "Holocaust was a disaster."
Zarif's statements contradict the long-standing reality of antisemitic incitement in Iran by the Iranian regime, as shown by the following MEMRI reports and MEMRI TV clips from years past, that include antisemitic content and anti-Jew and Holocaust-denial statements by senior Iranian regime officials.
Antisemitism In Iran
Special Dispatch No. 7758, At Antisemitic Conference In Tehran, Iranian Presidency Official Denies Holocaust: 'In Fact, We Do Show Antisemitic Behavior, And If We Are Not Doing Something Against The Jews, We Feel Bad – It Is Part Of Our Culture', November 12, 2018
Special Dispatch No. 6759, Khamenei Associate Mehdi Taeb: 'The Jews... Are The Only Ones Who Need Weapons Of Mass Destruction In Order To Rule The World – Because There Are 1.4 Billion Muslims And None Of Them Agree To Jewish Supremacy', January 27, 2017
Special Dispatch No. 6519, Antisemitism – A Rising Theme For Iran's 2016 Qods Day, July 11, 2016
Special Dispatch No. 5288, Iranian Official: The Jews Use Sorcery Against Iran, April 28, 2013
Inquiry and Analysis No. 922, The Image Of The Jew In The Eyes Of Iran's Islamic Regime – Part I: Theological Roots, January 25, 2013
Inquiry and Analysis No. 944, The Image Of The Jew In The Eyes Of Iran's Islamic Regime – Part II: The Blood Libel And 'The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, March 6, 2013
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