In two videos uploaded to the Masjid Al-Islam Facebook page, Soleiman Hamed, an American-born Islamic scholar, reacted to the protests following the death of George Floyd. American-born Hamed is the resident Imam of Atlanta's Masjid Al-Islam, and trained in Damascus, Syria under Grand Mufti Sheik Ahmed Kuftaro at Abu Nour University. He previously served as an Imam in Masjid Fresno in California, and as an assistant to Masjidul Waritheen of Oakland, California.
In the first video, a Friday sermon uploaded on May 29, 2020, Hamed said that he will continue talking about revolution until the Muslims "achieve having the world look like Allah would have it." Saying that he does not "necessarily" advocate the violence in the recent riots, Hamed elaborated that Muslims are not "kumbaya" pacifists and that in revolutions, they should follow the Quranic examples of Abraham and Muhammad, who employed destruction and violence against polytheism and false worship. He added that this is the model that Muslims use when they "take over the world."
In a second video, uploaded on May 31, Hamed said that it is okay to fight and resist evil mentalities. He said that riots have a place in bringing down oppressive systems and explained that when corporate businesses such as Target are burned down the "people engaged in oppression" feel their pockets hurt. Hamed warned rioters against "agents provocateurs" and asked that his words are not to be "twisted". In addition, he criticized cross-training that he said has taken place between Atlanta's police force and Israeli forces.
To view the May 29, 2020 clip of Islamic Scholar Soleiman Hamed on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"No One Should Be Fooled... To Think That Muslims Are To Be Sitting Around [All] Pacifist [And] 'Kumbaya' When The Revolution Comes. That's Not Quranic"
Soleiman Hamed: "So no one should be fooled, and no one should be beguiled, to think that Muslims are to be sitting around [all] pacifist [and] 'kumbaya' when the revolution comes.
"That's not Quranic. 'Oh, there you go talking about revolution again, imam.' Well, you all know me and I am going to keep talking about it until we achieve having the world look like Allah would have it. So you don't be afraid of that, because I am not afraid of it.
So they say: 'Well, imam, are you advocating violence?' That is what they ask me, talking about the riots and all that. 'Are you advocating violence, imam?' And I answer them: 'Not necessarily.'
"The Worst Form Of Oppression Is What? Polytheism, False Worship"
"It irks me a little bit when they say: 'How could people be engaged in acts of destruction?' 'How could you be engaged in acts of violence?' 'Is that a religious thing?' Let me show you something, that I know we don't look at it like this. I want to first bring to your attention that the worst form of oppression is what? Polytheism, false worship.
"Let's talk about these acts of destruction that everybody is up in arms about. You look at Abraham. I know some of you... Because we read Quran like a fairy tale and we don't see the practical application int these things. This might go over my head. But look at Abraham and even Muhammad the Prophet, when they witnessed this form of oppression, polytheism and false worship, they engaged in an act that the 'kumbayas' and the people who don't understand that aggression and things like this happen in these cases - what did they do? They would both be guilty, by these people's standards, of engaging in acts of destruction and violence. Is that right? I am just showing you that in the midst of revolution, change - and take that word in the biggest sense of it - that sometimes, those things happen.
"Yes, it is what Quran says. Yes, it is what Muhammad did. That is the model. That's the model that we are using when we go out and engage in the world and take over the world and make the world like Allah wants it to be."
In the second video uploaded to the Masjid Al-Islam Facebook page on May 31, Hamed commented further on the protests.
To view the May 31, 2020 clip of Islamic Scholar Soleiman Hamed on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"It Is Okay To Fight... We Are Not Just 'Armchair Revolutionaries'"
Soleiman Hamed: "It is okay to fight - listen to my words - and resist and go against that evil mentality of people believing that they are God, presenting themselves as God, being against Allah, polytheism - yes, we fight against that.
"We are not just 'armchair revolutionaries' and not just talking on the computer. But we are involved and engaged and even being seen. So again, with these uprisings and these events that are happening - it is okay to be there.
"Engagement In These Activities [Burning Property] Has A Place In Revolution, In Change, And They Have A Place In Bringing Down Oppressive Systems"
"And be careful again, I will reiterate that. They twist my words up, [saying:] 'You said in the Friday sermon, that we should be out there burning stuff.' I didn't say that, you heard what I said. I said that I was advocating for the establishment of good - and we went over those things - and forbidding the evil. And I said that the engagement in those activities has a place in revolution, in change, and they have a place in bringing down oppressive systems. Yes, and I stand by that statement. But do you know that there are some agents provocateurs and that it is in the midst of these things. You all know who the police is and who the devil is, and don't be involved in that.
"Dr. Martin Luther King [Said] That Riots Are The Voice Of The Voiceless. It Has A Place."
"Everybody has been throwing this quote around from Dr. Martin Luther King that riots are the voice of the voiceless. It has a place. It has a place. When... Let me relax... When people feel their pockets being hurt... When people feel their businesses... I am talking about corporations, Target is a corporation, right? These incorporated... I am just using that one for example because it was in the news... Make sure that you are listening very carefully and not twisting my words. [Saying:] 'There he is condoning this and condoning that.' Be careful, that is malarkey, and I will not go for it myself. But if we are asking the question on the level of understanding strategy in movements... OK, I am answering the question from that perspective. When people take to the streets and are in the streets and are disrupting the norm - it gets the attention of the people who are engage in the oppression, right? It wasn't until those white kids go out there, burning stuff up, that they arrested the officers in Kentucky - excuse me, in Minneapolis.
"The Police Department In Atlanta Was Receiving Training [From] The Zionist Regime In Israel"
"Even using the words 'protests' and 'riots' - those words are loaded words, I said 'uprisings.' People are making themselves seen and making themselves heard and combating - actually combating - the oppressive system. The police department in Atlanta was receiving training and providing training - it may be both ways - with the Zionist regime in Israel, right? So actually, [you should be] engaging your political officials and law enforcement, ensuring that can't be done. You can't be using the same thing that the Zionists are using on our people."
 Atlantamasjid.com/aboutourstaff, accessed June 2, 2020.