A Texas mosque leader has apologized after he was accused of inciting violence in a sermon he gave last month that declared “the Muslims will kill the Jews.”
Raed Saleh Al-Rousan, imam and founder at the Tajweed Institute in Houston, said he respects all human life, including the Jewish people, and is “completely opposed” to anyone who would “commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians.”
His apology comes nearly a month after he gave an impassioned sermon responding to President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Trump was mistaken,” Mr. Al-Rousan said Dec. 8, according to a clip translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
The imam reportedly said: “My brothers, the Prophet Muhammad brought the good tidings, when he said: ‘Judgment day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims will kill the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, [which] will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him … This is the promise of Allah.'”
The Anti-Defamation League deemed Mr. Al-Rousan’s speech anti-Semitic and violent.
“When you have an Imam preaching this kind of hatred, that this is incitement to violence against the Jewish community,” ADL Regional Director Dayan Gross told a local ABC affiliate.
Mr. Al-Rousan apologized in a pair of statements last week, saying he was “mortified” to learn that his remarks were being interpreted as supporting “the very things I despise.”
“Regarding my sermon on Dec. 8th, 2017 it must be understood that I unequivocally affirm and uphold the dignity, sanctity and value of all human life, including – of course – people of the Jewish faith,” he said. ” I must also state in no uncertain terms that I am 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.”
Mr. Al-Rousan said he intends to work with the Jewish community “to alleviate any fears” and “combat hatred in all forms, most especially anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
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