San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2017 …
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the apology of a California imam who, during a Friday sermon a week ago, had fervently prayed for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from “the filth of the Jews.”
Joined at a press conference by religious and community leaders, Imam Ammar Shahin of the Islamic Center of Davis apologized for the anti-Semitism in his sermon, acknowledging that “I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable.” He went on to say that, “I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused. The last thing that I would do is intentionally hurt anyone, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. It is not in my heart.”
Seth Brysk, Director of ADL’s San Francisco Office, issued the following statement:
We welcome Imam Shahin’s apology and his clear recognition that hateful words have consequences. This is an important first step, but it is only the beginning of a journey that he needs to make in restoring confidence in his religious leadership and his understanding of the roots of anti-Semitism.
We hope that the imam will continue to learn from others about why his words were so dangerous. We further hope that he will be able to use his leadership role to speak out against anti-Semitism and work with others in the community to build bridges of mutual understanding and respect.
ADL also voiced disappointment that another California Muslim leader, Mahmoud Harmoush, the imam at the Islamic Center of Riverside, has not apologized for a sermon where he claimed that Jews were plotting to extend their control beyond the land of Palestine to “most of the Middle East.”