California Imam Mahmoud Harmoush on Antisemitic Sermon: It Was Misinterpreted by Politically-Motivated People Who Fish in Dirty Water
In his August 4 Friday sermon at the Islamic Center of Riverside, California, Sheikh Mahmoud Harmoush, whose earlier sermon, in which he prayed to Allah to destroy the Jews, was brought to public attention by MEMRI, said that "so many things have not been interpreted or understood properly." For the July 21 sermon, see https://www.memri.org/tv/california-sermon-jews-plotting-mecca-medina-allah-wants-jihad. The Syrian-born Sheikh Harmoush, who has been living in the U.S. since the 1980s and who received academic degrees in California and West Virginia, further said that "if people want to fish in dirty water for something that is not there, we have to check on their political motivation." Sheikh Harmoush holds educational and leadership positions at several institutions in Southern California, teaches Arabic at California State University San Bernardino, and is a member of the leadership council of the Syrian American Council. The mosque at the Islamic Center of Riverside was attended by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the 2015 San Bernardino terror attack, in which 14 people were killed.
Mahmoud Harmoush: "To conclude today's sermon and just to make a comment on what happened on July 21, for the sermon I delivered regarding the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine. So many things have not been interpreted or understood properly, and we hope and pray that Allah will open the hearts and the minds of all people to see through the spirit of what we were talking about, which is the occupation, the closure, and preventing [entrance] to the most ancient house [of worship], after Mecca, on this earth, preventing people from going there and worshipping Allah.
"So this was the essence of it really: that we are against the closure of any religious entity or institutions, especially a place of worship – a synagogue, church, or mosque, and so forth – for any reason, let alone an unacceptable and unjustifiable reason, such as the things that happened. Nobody should feel offended if we feel angry. Rather, everyone – even other communities – should join us in feeling angry that a major mosque or place of worship is being shut down, and we don’t know for how long, and crime and violence have erupted in different places because of that act. Reasonable people, dear brothers and sisters, will see through this, and if they have issues, they can talk it out. But if people want to fish in dirty water for something that is not there, then we have to check on their political motivation, and the wrong connotation in that regard."