At an October 22, 2017 interfaith event at the Islamic Center of Davis (ICD), in northern California, which was aimed at dispelling tension following the controversy sparked by antisemitic statements made in July 2017 by Imam Ammar Shahin (see MEMRI TV Clip 6133, California Friday Sermon: Imam Ammar Shahin Cites Antisemitic Hadith, Prays For Annihilation Of Jews, Calls To Liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque From Their 'Filth' and MEMRI TV Clip 6140, California Sermon: Imam Ammar Shahin Prays To Allah To Turn Jerusalem And Palestine Into A Graveyard For The Jews And Liberate The Al-Aqsa Mosque From 'Their Filth'). Imam Shahin denied that he had been "calling for the genocide" or "using antisemitic words." He said, "[I] never... not now, not in the future, and not in the past – have called for the genocide of any group," and quoted a Quranic verse stating "If you kill an innocent soul, it is as if you have killed all of mankind."
Imam Ammar Shahin: "I just want to make something very clear and, this is going to be hopefully, my last time, okay. So I want to make it as clear as possible to a lot of people who have heard my sermons on July. And especially me, we know it rotates all around and it comes back to me. So the sermons on July, when some people have heard the wordings and they thought, whether it was misconception, misunderstanding, whatever it was. They thought I was calling for the genocide, or I was using antisemitic words. Here I am today, in front of everybody, saying it very clearly, and I hope that everyone would listen to this. Religiously and a personal belief, I have never or will – not now, not in the future, and not in the past – have called for the genocide of any group – not the Jews, not the Christians, not the atheists, not the people without belief, or never. Not just because to please anyone, because the religion commands so.
"We have a very clear verse in the Qur'an that I like to start with. This verse clearly states our commands that came from God. These commands, no one has the choice to say, 'well I'll only go with three but not all five. Or maybe two out of three' – we can't. We take it as a package. Command says, and this is the verse in Chapter Five. It says: 'Oh Muhammad, call upon your followers, and recite to them these commands. Number one, you worship God alone. You do not associate a partner with God. Two, you respect your parents and obey them. Three, you do not kill your children because of poverty, because God will provide you and them. Fourth, you do not commit a sin – whether it's in public or hidden, open or hidden. Stay away from anything that will bring you shame. Fifth, do not kill an innocent soul. Do not kill, you have no right to take or to kill an innocent soul.'
"If you do so, then you have followed the command of God. So we can have that in the Qu'ran clearly. When have another verse, and people claim that we are calling for the genocide of the Jews or others. This is not true. It has nothing to do with the religion, has nothing to do with my personal belief – it is a part of the religious view that we have, that we hold. Why is that? Because there is another verse that if everybody understand, as God said it was recited to Banu Israel, where we came from right now. We just came from there. It was recited to them, that means you also followed that. 'That if you kill an innocent soul, as if you have killed all of mankind. And if you have saved an innocent soul, it is as if you have saved all of mankind.'
"No we come together to work to save refugees and orphans, this is saving a soul. So I hope I was very clear, and I hope I made it as clear as possible, and again as I said, for the last time. Because I already said it enough, and it’s a belief, again it's not to please anyone, not to make anyone happy. It's part of what we believe. How people interpret things, that's their own choice."