Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
On Friday July 21st, Imam Ammar Shahin delivered a sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis calling for the extermination of the Jews. He quoted an infamous Islamic Hadith which claims that Judgement Day won’t come around until the Muslims hunt down and exterminate the Jews.
“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,” he prayed. “Annihilate them down to the very last one,” he added.
Next Friday, after the video went viral, the Imam appeared at a press conference to apologize to the filthy Jews. “I said things that were hurtful to Jews.”
The whole thing was sanctified by Rabbi Seth Castleman, a former Buddhist monk married to the Rev. Elizabeth Griswold, the pastor of Parkside Community Church. Castleman leads Buddhist meditation sessions at his current house of worship. When bacon was dumped on the Islamic Center, Castleman appeared and declared that, “Attacks such as this one are a strike against all of us.”
"Look, the Old and New Testaments have horrible things in them,” Castleman had opined in response to the imam’s anti-Semitic rant. “You can always find horrible things.”
The Islamic Center of Davis had tried to claim that the Imam’s rant had been taken out of context. “If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended,” it offered.
"It's unfair when I have spoken about nonviolence, and here is some two minutes. My record is very clear, I have always been against violence," Imam Shahin told the Washington Post.
At the press conference, he conceded that his words might have encouraged violent acts. The farce finally came to an end with a halting apology delivered from a written statement in broken English.
Then he committed to fighting for “social justice” and against “hate speech and violence”.
Imam Shahin’s apology was preceded by an address from a senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church who denounced “the language that we hear coming from the highest office in our country.”
When an Imam spews hate at Jews, the left will go right back to attacking President Trump.
The diverse clergy and community leaders at the event were more than happy to give Shahin a pass. And Shahin blamed the whole thing on his “emotions”. It went without saying that a Christian leader calling for Muslim genocide would not have been allowed to use his overwrought “feelings” as an excuse.
While the media had rushed to cover the Islamic Center of Davis’ bacon scandal, the same outlets had far less interest in the Center’s anti-Semitism problem. At first the story could only be found in Jewish and conservative outlets. When the media was finally forced to cover the viral video, it made excuses.
MEMRI, the monitoring organization that found, translated and uploaded the video, was smeared. Since Shahin’s remarks had been translated, challenging the translation was the easiest way to shoot the messenger. The Islamic Center accused MEMRI of having mistranslated “destroy” as “annihilate”.
And it attacked MEMRI for not having featured the ”countless lectures and sermons he has given regarding treating all people, especially non-Muslims, with kindness.”
Why indeed didn’t MEMRI highlight all the lectures in which he didn’t call for genocide?
The Muslim Public Affairs Council put out a statement complaining that, “Groups like MEMRI exacerbate political divisions on the Middle East conflict rather than aim to reconcile differences.” And who better to bring us together than MPAC whose boss had accused Israel of being behind the 9/11 attacks.
Salam al-Marayati had also defended Hamas and Hezbollah. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the JTA built its story around the MPAC press release without bothering to quote anyone from MEMRI.
The Washington Post tried bringing in its own translator, who accused MEMRI of Islamophobia, and tried to claim that the Imam had only been referring to those Jews involved in the fighting in Jerusalem. Whether this was limited to the Israeli authorities or the millions of Jews in Israel was left open to interpretation. There have been plenty of Islamist fatwas authorizing the extermination of Israeli Jews.
Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda, had stated, “There are no civilians in Israel. The population—males, females and children—are the army reserve soldiers, and thus can be killed.”
Ghannouchi had been hosted by MPAC. The Islamist group had called him, “One of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory.”
The Washington Post had run an interview with Ghannouchi and stories and editorials in the paper had repeatedly praised him and his movement. One article describes him as “visionary”.
Genocide is visionary indeed.
All the quibbling over the exact translation misses the point. The real horror of Shahin’s rant wasn’t his reference to the “filth of the Jews”. It was the Hadith of the rock and the tree.
The genocidal Hadith is widely quoted by Muslim preachers. Hamas invoked it in its covenant. There was nothing unusual about Shahin’s rant.
That’s the horrifying part.
“The hour will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. A Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will call upon the Muslim: ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’
That’s the Hadith that Shahin referenced.
"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,” he quotes.
But then he begins offering his own elaboration on what Muslims should do about it.
To Shahin, the genocidal text represents a call for Muslim unity that transcends national differences. "They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani."
Nor does the massacre have to be limited to Israel. “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,” he conjectures.
So much for the Washington Post’s attempt at limiting the scope of his genocide to Israel.
There was nothing new about Shahin’s message. It’s a call for Muslims to unify and kill the Jews.
“Let us play a part in this. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds,” Shahin prays.
What does he mean by “deeds”?
“The last thing I would do is intentionally hurt anyone,” Shahin insisted in his apology. His denunciations of violence however ring rather hollow. Not when he quoted a genocidal Hadith which calls for hunting down and killing the Jews. And not necessarily just in Israel, but potentially everywhere.
Some time ago, David Horowitz called on Islamic organizations to repudiate the Hadith in the Declaration Against Genocide. Not a single Muslim group, including MPAC, agreed to do it.
73% of Muslims in ’67 Israel agree with it.
That’s what is at stake in Jerusalem and in Davis and everywhere else. It comes down to genocide.
The left is eager to talk about anti-Semitism on the right, but unwilling to discuss it on the left. Muslims are supposed to be part of one great coalition. It’s a coalition in which Seth Castleman signs on for Muslim migrants and Islamic groups show up for interfaith events. And then Imam Shahin spoiled it.
The apology lets everyone on the left go back to pretending that there isn’t a problem. But there is a problem. And it’s not going anywhere. It’s only getting worse.
The left has whitewashed and justified Muslim attacks on Jewish synagogues. It justifies and defends violence against Jews. Shahin’s murderous sermon was inconvenient, but quickly swept under the rug.
After all the spin and excuses, Imam Shahin never disavowed the genocidal Hadith. Instead he apologized for the hurt feelings. The mosque apologized to anyone who was offended.
But the feelings aren’t the point. The killing is.
Long before the State of Israel was reborn, the Six Day War or the latest terrorist tantrum, an ancient Islamic text ordered Muslims to wipe out the Jews to bring on Judgement Day.
Muslim anti-Semitic violence is not a momentary reaction to metal detectors. Just as Imam Shahin’s sermon was not an emotional slip. It’s the violent bigotry of over a thousand years.
It’s in Davis. And it’s in America. And it must be addressed.