August 29, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7072

California Imam Exposed By MEMRI Retracts His Antisemitic Statements

August 29, 2017
Special Dispatch No. 7072

Earlier this month, MEMRI released a clip of Iraqi-American Shi'ite Imam Dr. Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini stating, in his June 23, 2017 sermon at the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County (IECOC) in Costa Mesa, California, of which he is founder and director, that ISIS was the production of Israeli intelligence. "Most of their officers were trained in Israel, including [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi," he said. He added: "All of you know who established ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and all of these terrorist organizations. You know very well. You know who paid for them, who financed them, who helped them, who purchased weapons for them, who even trained them, who protected them. You know that. This is not the production of Islam. Islam is not responsible for ISIS. There are certain agencies and governments, who established... They put hand in hand to establish ISIS, to demolish Islam from within. This was the plan. And every day we discover... It's not... We don't discover... The rest... We knew this... We knew the story from the beginning. When ISIS occupied Mosul three years ago, I gave a speech in Iraq. I said: 'ISIS is the production of the Israeli intelligence.' The Israeli intelligence... Most of their officers were trained in Israel, including Abu Bakr Al-Baghadi, who went to hell, I think, two or three days ago."

The MEMRI TV clip of the statements by Imam Qazwini received national and local media coverage.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below

On August 25, Imam Qazwini apologized for and retracted his statements linking Israel and ISIS. The retraction was posted on the IECOC's Twitter feed and website. It read:

"Imam Dr. Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini Retracts Statement Linking Israel to ISIS

"Imam Dr. Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini retracts the comments that he made in a lecture on June 23, 2017, in which he stated that ISIS and other terrorist groups were supported by Israeli intelligence. While Imam al-Qazwini made these comments based on information that he had received from Iraqi political and military sources, after careful reflection on the reliability of these sources and on the realization of the extent to which these comments have offended and hurt members of the Jewish community, he has decided to rescind his comments.

"At this critical time in America in which religious and ethnic communities face discrimination and hostility, Imam al-Qazwini understands the insensitivity of his statements and apologizes for the pain he has caused, especially to his Jewish friends. He appreciates the importance of engaging in genuine interfaith relations and solidarity with members of all faith traditions, based on mutual respect and trust. Imam al-Qazwini prays that all communities can come together in peace and solidarity to overcome the common challenges of our time."[1]

Al-Qazwini's Retraction On Twitter


[1],, August 25, 2017.

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