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July 27, 2017

Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis

"If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended. We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony."

That’s the dishonest, cowardly, meaningless, and insulting apology offered by the Islamic Center of Davis in California after Imam Ammar Shahin called for the annihilation of Jews during a sermon he gave on Friday, July 21, 2017. [See note below.]

After Shahin’s sermon was recorded and posted on the mosque’s website, it came to the attention of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) who translated it from Arabic into English for a shocked public.

In his vitriolic sermon, Imam Shahin, called on Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,? “destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, ? and “count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.? He also asked that these things happen at the hands of Muslims. Someone in the audience could very well take Imam Shahin’s sermon as an exhortation to kill Jews.

This is the type of incitement people have grown to expect from the imams at Al Aqsa Mosque and from pulpits in Iran, but to hear an imam call for the murder of Jews in such an explicit manner from a pulpit in the United States is another thing altogether.

This is America, where open calls for genocide and the annihilation of people from other religions and ethnicities are contrary to the rules of civil society that allow people from different countries and faith traditions to live together in peace.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has asked Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney to investigate the Imam Shahin’s hateful sermon, with good reason. This is the type of stuff that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, said to incite anti-Jewish pogroms in 1929 and 1936. It is the type of stuff leaders in Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas said to encourage young Palestinians to murder Israelis during the recent stabbing intifada.

It simply has no place a modern, pluralistic, and civilized society.

Insulting Apology

It was bad enough that Imam Shahin said these things. It is even worse that the Islamic Center of Davis insulted the American people even further with a non-apology apology.

Here are a few excerpts from the “apology? and some relevant challenges:

The ICD states: “The ICD will always stand against anti-semitism similarly to how the Jewish community has always stood against Islamophobia in our close knit community. We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or any other form of bigotry.?

Response: If the ICD is so opposed to antisemitism, then why did its members allow Imam Shahin to continue with his sermon? If the ICD has zero tolerance for bigotry, then why did the center post a video of the hateful sermon on its website? Did its leadership not recognize the incitement for what it was?

The ICD states: “He also addressed the recent horrific events including the illegal closure, occupation, and attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to the killing and injuring of Muslim worshipers, including the wounding of the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the prevention of worship and the call to prayer at the Mosque. Specifically, the Imam was referring to individuals that are contributing to this oppression.?

Response: Why is the ICD ignoring the relevant facts about the events at Al Aqsa Mosque? The recent conflict began with the murder of two Israeli policemen by jihadists who took refuge in the mosque after the attack. Why didn’t Imam Shahin condemn the jihadist murderers who killed two policemen in cold blood? And it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who called on worshippers to refrain from praying at the mosque after Israel installed metal detectors, not Israel. Along these lines, will Imam Shahin condemn the murder of three Israeli Jews in Halamish by a Palestinian incited by inflammatory remarks from Palestinian leaders? The terrorist who committed these murders could very well point to Imam Shahin’s sermon as justification for his murders.

The ICD states: “MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.?

Response: If MEMRI got it wrong, exactly how? Did Imam Shahin ask Allah to kill and/or destroy Jews?

And exactly how were his statements taken out of context? And if MEMRI did take his statements out of context, then why did the ICD take the sermon down? Wouldn’t keeping the sermon up provide people with the evidence they needed to see that Imam’s Shahin’s statements were taken out of context? The fact is, the ICD was wrong to even post the video on the internet, and did the right thing in taking it down, because one way or another, Imam Shahin called for the deaths of Jews. MEMRI got it right and everyone knows it.

The ICD states: “MEMRI’s video included an edited segment about a Prophetic tradition dealing with the apocalyptic battle between Jesus and the Antichrist. Prophetic traditions addressing the end of times are not meant to address modern conflicts, the Imam was using the tradition to address unity and coming back to the faith.?

Response: If “prophetic traditions addressing end times are not meant to address modern conflicts,? then why did the Imam pray that modern-day Muslims have a hand on the destruction of modern-day Jews when he said, “"Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. 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. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds."

This is clearly a call for Allah to bring about murders of Jews and for Muslims to participate in this project — in current time.

Who really needs to be told that traditions addressing end times are not meant to address modern conflicts — Imam Shahin or people who are shocked at his speech?

The ICD states: “During these emotional times it’s important for all parties to use restrained language and maintain respect.?

Response: Does asking Allah to annihilate and/or destroy Jews qualify as “restrained language?? Does it help “maintain respect? to cite hateful passages from the hadith that promote genocidal hostility toward Jews and apply them to modern-day conflicts? Again, who needs to be told about the importance of “restrained language? and “respect? — Imam Shahin or his shocked listeners?


It is time for the members of the Islamic Center of Davis to come to grips with what really happened at their house of worship. Their leader called for the murder of people in the name of God. The ICD’s weak apology indicates they have a lot of soul-searching to do before they come to grips with this reality.

July 28, 2017 Note: The Islamic Center of Davis has removed the apology from its website. The link is to the text archived on the Wayback Machine maintained by

Posted by dvz at July 27, 2017 11:32 AM


Nowhere in the statements made concerning the imam's speech and the apologies following it, except in the ZOA report, was it noted that during his speech, the imam was wearing a Hamas scarf.

Posted by: Jeffrey Sheff at July 29, 2017 01:54 PM

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