Mosque says comments taken ‘out of context’
An Islamic Center in Davis, Calif. is under fire after an English translation of a sermon that the mosque’s imam delivered on Friday was posted online and showed him calling for the annihilation of Jews.
The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, translated a mostly Arabic sermon from the Islamic Center of Davis’ Egyptian-born American imam, Ammar Shahin, in which he called for the death of Jews.
“The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah…’ They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani,” Shahin said, according to the MEMRI translation. “The Prophet Muhammad says that they time will come, 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.”
Near the Islamic Center of Davis, Rabbi Shmary Brownstein said that he has been on guard ever since the video of Shahin was posted online, CBS Sacramento reports. Brownstein’s home is also the place of worship for the Chabad in Davis.
The mosque later issued a statement apologizing if the sermon offended anyone.
“If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended,” the statement said. “We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony.”
The mosque said that the imam’s comments were taken out of context and that MEMRI publicized a “mistranslation.”