Tennessee Imam Accuses ‘Zionists’ of Designs on Sacred Islamic Shrine in Mecca
A conspiracy theory-laden sermon by a Tennessee imam warning that “Zionists” are planning to destroy Islam’s most revered site came to light on Sunday, four months after the remarks were originally delivered.
“Today, if we lose Jerusalem – know that it is not going to stop there,” Imam AhmedulHadi Sharif told worshippers at the Islamic Center of Tennessee in Antioch, TN, in July. “The enemies of Allah will come and try to destroy the Kaaba.” The Kaaba is a small shrine located at the Great Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, regarded by the Muslims faith as the most sacred spot on earth for its adherents.
Video of Sharif’s sermon was posted to the Islamic center’s channel YouTube on July 24. After being deleted, the video was unearthed by the MEMRI media research institute, which released it on Sunday.
Describing “the Zionists” as “the number one terrorists in the world,” Sharif said he nonetheless made a distinction between “the ethnic Jewish” and the “Zionist oppressors.”
“The Zionists exceeded all bounds in their oppression and tyranny,” he said, before calling for the violent elimination of Israel.
“Oh Allah, inflict Your revenge upon them,” Sharif continued. “Do not let their banners fly high, and do not let them achieve their goals. Make a deterrent example out of them. Oh Allah, defeat them, convulse them, and support us.”
Sharif has served as the Islamic Center of Tennessee’s imam since May 2011, shortly after he arrived in the United States. Over the previous decade, the Somali-born cleric taught at Muslim schools in Somalia and Kenya. Among his areas of expertise, according to the Center’s website, are social media and media relations, and “places of worship safety.”