Jews, and Muslims, Should Be Concerned about Anti-Semitic Preaching in American Mosques

July 28 2017

Quoting from two sermons given last Friday at Islamic centers in California, Liel Leibovitz argues that it’s time for those who claim to oppose bigotry to start protesting anti-Semitic incitement in U.S. mosques:

The Egyptian-born American imam Ammar Shahin took to the pulpit at the Islamic Center of Davis, California, to deliver some words to the faithful. . . . “The Prophet Muhammad says that . . . the last hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place. Until they fight.”

Shahin went on like this for a while longer. Then, he closed his eyes and addressed the Creator directly.

“Oh Allah,” he prayed, . . . “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. . . . Oh Allah, show us the black day that you inflict upon them and the wonders of your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any one. . . . Oh Allah, make this happen by our hand. Let us play a part in this.”

At more or less the same time, another imam, Sheikh Mahmoud Harmoush, was preaching at another Islamic Center, in Riverside, 451 miles to the south. . . . “Wake up,” he thundered, “it is time to be a Muslim. Prayers are not the only things.” And then, after more talk of al-Aqsa and its Jewish occupiers, the grand finale: “Oh, Allah, destroy them. . . . Turn them into booty in the hands of Muslims.”

That these two sermons, oozing with anti-Semitism of the crudest kind, could take place, in 2017, in the state of California, should terrify not only Jews but also Muslims who abhor the idea of their faith abused by fanatics who turn scripture into screeds and who use the pulpit to preach for murder. It should also jolt good liberals into action, as they imagine how they would feel if the speakers were, say, right-wing Evangelicals calling on Christ to smite the gays. And it should rouse the ADL into action, if it wants to dispel the mounting evidence that it’s a Democratic-party affiliate primarily interested in ephemeral political scuffles rather than in protecting real Jews from real hate.

All this must happen immediately, before one of the men who sat at the feet of Imams Shahin and Harmoush gets up and decides that the day of reckoning is upon us and that it’s time to do as Allah commands and go slay the Jews.

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More about: ADL, Anti-Semitism, Islam, Religion & Holidays

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy