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memri
May 8, 2019 No.
8054

Following MEMRI's Exposure Of Muslim American Society Islamic Center In Philadelphia (MAS Philly) Video Of Event With Children's Martyrdom Song, MAS Philly Removes Clip, Claiming It Hadn't Been Vetted; Clip Condemned By Congressmen; Philadelphia Human Relations Commission Announces Probe; MEMRI Releases Another MAS Philly Event With Similar Children's Song From 2017

On May 3, MEMRI released a clip from a video of an April 22, 2019 "Ummah Day" celebration at the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia (MAS Philly) that had been posted on the MAS Philly Facebook page (MEMRI TV Clip No. 7194, Children In Philadelphia Muslim Society: We Will Sacrifice Ourselves For Al-Aqsa; Will Chop Off The Enemies' Heads, Subject Them To Eternal Torture). The clip received over two million views on social media, and was denounced by Members of Congress. Following the release of the MEMRI clip, MAS Philly removed the video from its Facebook page.

On May 4, the Muslim American Society wrote on its website that the event had been organized by a school separate from MAS Philly, that the person responsible had been fired, and that the video had been uploaded to the MAS Philly Facebook page "without verifying the content... for appropriateness and making sure it conforms to our hate-free policy and values." On May 6, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations announced that it was launching a probe into the events shown in the video.[1]

Also May 6, MEMRI released a clip of a similar song sung by children at MAS Philly, from a video uploaded to the MAS Philly Facebook page on May 28, 2017 (MEMRI TV Clip No. 7201, Children Singing In Philadelphia Muslim Society: We Will Be Martyred On Palestine's Soil As Fedayeen (Archival). In it, three girls sang a song at a ceremony; the first girl sang "I am the daughter of the revolution... With my blood, I crossed the border to Palestine of the free... The shield of the revolution shines from my chest." The second girl sang: "I raise the banner of your rebels on every battlefield... Your perseverance, defiance, and determination will turn us into fedayeen. We will be martyred on your soil and you will cover us with a laurel crown." The third girl sang: "I am a stone in a rebel's sling – I am a revolution that shakes the occupier... I will not be humiliated."

The following are reactions to the MEMRI TV clip released May 3, 2019, and the transcript of the MEMRI TV clip released May 6, 2019.

Muslim American Society Statement

In its May 4, 2019 statement on its website following the release of the MEMRI TV clip Children In Philadelphia Muslim Society: We Will Sacrifice Ourselves For Al-Aqsa; Will Chop Off The Enemies' Heads, Subject Them To Eternal Torture, MAS Philly said that upon learning of the video, "MAS immediately issued a preliminary statement on our website, condemning the words used in the video as we swiftly investigated the matter." It said that the school that held event shown in the video is a "separate entity renting space from MAS Philadelphia," and added, "The school board has informed us that it has taken immediate actions and dismissed the person in charge of the program. In addition, they will form a local commission to aid in sensitivity training and proper supervision for future programs." The video, it said, "was uploaded to the chapter's Facebook page without verifying the content of the video for appropriateness and making sure it conforms to our hate-free policy and values." The statement concluded: "MAS is committed to condemning hate speech everywhere. We reaffirm our commitment to MAS' core values of justice, peace and protecting the sanctity of human life."[2] The following day, the MAS Philly Facebook page was shut down.

According to reports, Facebook posts showed that a school called MAS Leaders Academy operates at the MAS Philly location. It was also reported that the MAS Philly also shares space with the Al-Hidaya mosque. Jacob Bender, executive director of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) Philadelphia chapter,  said on May 6 that Al-Hidaya had asked CAIR to hold a "workshop on diversity and religious tolerance" to help "members of the immigrant Muslim community have a better understanding of Jewish sensitivities and anti-Semitism, so that events like this don't repeat themselves."[3]

The Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia belongs to the Muslim American Society (MAS), which has 42 chapters in the U.S. and one in the U.K. The  MAS website says that its mission is to "move people to strive for God-consciousness, liberty and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity," and that its vision is "a virtuous and just American society."

Members of Congress Condemn MAS Philly Video

Following MEMRI's release of its clip, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) called, on May 6, for a criminal investigation into the MAS, calling it "deeply disturbing," "dangerous," and "infuriating to see U.S. children being radicalized on U.S. soil."  called for a probe into MAS. He also called the MAS response even more infuriating.[4]

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said on the Fox News "Trish Regan Primetime" show on May 7: "Unfortunately, this should be, in some respects, not a surprise to a lot of people. We have seen this around the globe and other places, and it has to be deterred with maximum effect. We respect everybody's right to practice their own religion, but not when it comes to inciting violence or advocating for violence for people who wish not to practice that same religion and so, obviously it's very disturbing and concerning."

Additionally, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a May 6 statement: "The city of Philadelphia condemns bigotry in all its forms. Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. For this moniker to ring true, all our brothers and sisters – regardless of their background – must feel safe and welcome. We are committed to working together with partners representing all our communities to make this happen."[5]

MAS Philly Maintains Relationships With City Police, Philadelphia District Attorney

MAS Philly has ties with Philadelphia city officials and Philadelphia police. In January 2019, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner attended a prayer service and a meet-and-greet at the center.[6] In 2016, MAS Philly hosted and provided breakfast for nearly 1,000 Philadelphia police officers.[7]

CAIR Pennsylvania Statement

On May 4, CAIR Philadelphia published a press release "in response to news reports about a community event involving students at Muslim American Society of Philadelphia." It included statements by Iftekhar Hussain, Chair of CAIR-Pennsylvania, and Jacob Bender, Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia. It read:

"[T]he Philadelphia Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, today reaffirmed its condemnation of any and all manifestations of anti-Semitism.  

"Iftekhar Hussain, Chair of CAIR-Pennsylvania [said]: Muslim history is full of examples of Muslims offering sanctuary and help to Jews, such as the events of 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Catholic Spain and were invited to resettle in Ottoman lands by the Ottoman Caliph Bayazid II, or recently, when the Muslim community of Pittsburgh, led by CAIR and other Muslim organizations, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre.

"Jacob Bender, Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia [said]: "As a Jew myself, and whose ancestors were victims of genocidal persecution in Christian Europe, I am proud to work for any organization that has always condemned all statements of hatred and prejudice, especially against minority or otherwise persecuted groups. We should be careful, however, not to conflate criticism of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians with anti-Semitism..."[8]

MEMRI TV Clip 7201: Children Singing In Philadelphia Muslim Society: We Will Be Martyred On Palestine's Soil As Fedayeen (Archival) – May 28, 2017

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

"With My Blood, I Crossed The Border To Palestine Of The Free"

Girl 1: "I am the daughter of the revolution, born between exile and burning ashes. With my blood, I crossed the border to Palestine of the free. I am the daughter of the revolution, born between exile and burning ashes. With my blood, I crossed the border to Palestine of the free. I am a cannon shell. The shield of the revolution shines from my chest. I emerge from the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I am a spike in the fence of my home."

[...]

"Your Perseverance, Defiance, And Determination Will Turn Us Into Fedayeen – We Will Be Martyred On Your Soil"

Girl 2: "I raise the banner of your rebels on every battlefield. My eyes are awaiting the sun of your day, and I will draw it on every forehead. I raise the banner of your rebels on every battlefield. My eyes are awaiting the sun of your day, and I will draw it on every forehead. Your perseverance, defiance, and determination will turn us into fedayeen. We will be martyred on your soil and you will cover us with a laurel crown."

[...]

"I Am A Revolution That Shakes The Occupier"

Girl 3: "I am a stone in a rebel's sling, I am a revolution that shakes the occupier. I am a wave on the calm sea. I hold my head high, and I will not be humiliated. I am a stone in a rebel's sling, I am a revolution that shakes the occupier. I am a wave on the calm sea. I hold my head high, and I will not be humiliated."

 

[1] Foxnews.com/us/philadelphia-commission-probing-disturbing-video, May 6, 2019.

[2] Muslimamericansociety.org/mas-statement-on-philadelphia-video, May 4, 2019.

[3] Nytimes.com/aponline/2019/05/06/us/ap-us-muslim-children-video.html, May 6, 2019.

[4] Foxnews.com/us/muslim-children-disturbing-video-investigation, May 6, 2019.

[5] Nytimes.com/aponline/2019/05/06/us/ap-us-muslim-children-video.html, May 6, 2019.

[6] Facebook.com/pages/Mas-Islamic-Center/149823178424687, January 18, 2019.

[7] Nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Muslim-American-Society-Philadelphia-Police-Breakfast-394731171.html, September 25, 2019.

[8] Pa.cair.com/pressrelease/muslim-community-condemns-anti-semitism/, May 4, 2019.