Orthodox Rabbis Join Call for Homeland Security Investigation Into Antisemitic California Imam Ammar Shahin
An influential group of Orthodox rabbis has joined the call for a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation into the California imam who delivered a violently antisemitic sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis on July 21.
The rabbis — representatives of the Baltimore-based Coalition for Jewish Values — said that the subsequent apology from the imam, Ammar Shahin, was not enough and that he should be fired from his post at the Islamic Center. The rabbis also lauded Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) for “demanding Mr. Shahin’s employment be terminated, and that the University of California, Davis, bar Mr. Shahin and any representative of the Islamic Center of Davis from its campus.”
Shahin’s sermon in Arabic — translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — was delivered at the height of the violent Palestinian campaign against Israeli control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem earlier this month.
“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,” Shahin declared, before offering prayers for the mass murder of Israelis. “Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them, and the wonders of Your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”
In the wake of the sermon, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a prominent Jewish human rights group, demanded that the DHS investigate Shahin.
“By explicitly urging Muslims to annihilate all Jews by their own hands, Shahin has crossed the line beyond protected speech,” the SWC said in a statement. “Homeland Security knows better than anyone else that Islamist terrorism — fueled by religious fanatics — constitutes the number one threat to the safety and security of the American people.”
After first denouncing MEMRI, which broke the news of the sermon, as an “extremist” organization, Shahin recanted on Monday, but without explicitly acknowledging his call for antisemitic violence.
“I let my emotions get the best of me and cloud my better judgment,” he said. “I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable.”