A Texas imam who urged Muslims in a sermon earlier this month to “fight the Jews in Palestine” and “kill the Jews” is now trying to “repair the damage,” but Jewish leaders say there’s a fundamental problem with his apology.
Amid criticism of his remarks Dec. 8 at the Tajweed Institute in Houston, Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan declared in a Facebook post he is “absolutely and completely opposed to and disgusted by all forms of terrorism, all terrorists, and I oppose anyone who would commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians.”
But Dayan Gross, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, pointed out that video of the sermon shows the imam basing his statement on an Islamic Hadith, a saying attributed to Islam’s prophet Muhammad, reported the American Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner.
The Hadith declares: “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews.”
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In his Facebook apology, Al-Rousan said he hopes “to establish new and meaningful relationships with my neighbors in the Jewish community,” including through meetings “with Jewish leaders.”
“I want to hear their concerns, learn from them and bring our communities closer together,” Al-Rousan said. “I hope to work with them to alleviate any fears and to combat hatred in all forms, most especially antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
“I am,” he continued.
Another Texas imam, responding to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month, posted a recorded prayer on his Facebook page calling for Israel’s destruction along with “their allies, and those who assist them and those who allowed them into the abodes of the Muslims.”
The prayer by Sheikh Ramadan Elsabagh of Garland, Texas, was delivered in Arabic and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The imam said: “Our Lord. Help holy Palestine. … O Allah, be with your oppressed worshipers in Palestine, O Allah destroy the Zionists and their allies, and those who assist them and those who allowed them into the abodes of the Muslims. By your power, O mighty one, O mighty one, through your power and might, O Allah, deflect them with what you will, and however you will, for you are omnipotent, and with a response omnipotent.”
‘Not a partner for a dialogue’
The Algemeiner reported Israel’s consul-general in Houston, Gilad Katz, pointed out the sermon by the Houston imam, also a response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, “actually promoted violence and death to Jewish people.”
“Therefore, this kind of man is not a partner for a dialogue, whether he apologized or not,” he said.
In the sermon, reported first by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Al-Rousan used his own words to accuse the Jews of having “killed the prophets and the messengers of Allah.”
He charged that they had maliciously “changed the Torah” and said “the Hour (Judgment Day) will not arrive until Muslims fight the Jews there, in Palestine.”
The Islamic Society of Greater Houston, in a statement, explained that the imam was “new to Houston” and that he had made “inflammatory remarks about our Jewish community in a deeply disturbing tone.”
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, said the imam is “apologetic” because he got caught.
Spencer recalled that his warning to Icelanders earlier this year “about the deceptions used by Muslim Brotherhood types and stealth jihadists as a whole” got him in trouble with the Canadian government, which deemed him too “Islamophobic” to sit on an “arms length” race relations federal agency.
Spencer said Islamic supremacists are “sophisticated, but their goal is to obliterate Israel and conquer infidels.”
“All the while, the murders of apostates, homosexuals and blasphemers, etc., are rampant among the Sharia-observant, yet the stealth jihadists have brainwashed certain Westerners into thinking that calling out such human rights abuses is ‘Islamophobic,'” he wrote.
“Despite the truth, their non-Muslim water-carriers take stealth jihadists at their word.”