A sermon given by Imam Ammar Shahin, of the Islamic Center of Davis, California on July 21st –contained outrageous & inflammatory rhetoric, which has invoked a slough of social media outrage, from calls for the imam’s arrest to an online petition for him to be fired.
In the mostly-Arabic sermon, the imam asked for Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Israel from “the filth of the Jews,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them,” said Shahin, who spoke both Arabic and English during the sermon. “Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds.”
Friday’s sermon has struck the Jewish community at it’s very core. Today, outside the Islamic Center of Davis, stood Rochelle Almeida. The Davis resident is an artist, poet and retired teacher… but when she heard news reports about Friday’s sermon she felt “compelled” to come to the Davis Islamic Center and see if she could “get a meeting with someone in charge.”
“I’m 71 years old,” Almeida told us. “And I’m Jewish. And I’m upset! I’ve studied world religions for 40 years… but when I saw the Islamic community here advocating for the annihilation of the Jews, I had to stand up and say something.”
Almeida said she’d entered the Islamic Center earlier in the day to pose a rhetorical question to the individuals inside as they prepared for class… asking if anyone in Davis had ever publicly advocated for the annihilation of the Muslims. Almeida began listing some of her ancestors who were Russian Jews and spoke of her maternal grandmother, a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.
“I have no fear to go into this mosque and speak up,” Almeida finished. “We must not be afraid to stand up and speak up.”
The sermon by the Davis imam comes on the tails of high-tension events in Israel: the murder of two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount prompted the Israeli government to install metal detectors. According to the Times of Israel, three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces on Friday during Palestinian riots, and another two were killed Saturday, including a Palestinian who died when a petrol bomb he carried exploded prematurely.
Ironically, the Davis imam’s controversial sermon coincided with the brutal and horrific slaying of three members of the Saloman family–murdered by an intruder during a family Shabbat dinner–in the village of Halamish, Shomron region of Israel.
“The terrorist, identified as 19-year-old Omar al-Abed from a nearby village, was in police custody after being shot through the window by an off-duty soldier who rushed to the home after hearing screams from the victims and from Elad Salomon’s wife, who had locked herself in a room with her five young children.” (Source: http://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/3736503/jewish/Terrorist-Murders-Three-at-Family-Shabbat-Dinner-in-Israel.htm )
Article by Steven Styles/ Belator Media. Photographer: Steven Styles/ Belator Media