A Texas imam has apologized after issuing a video statement last month in which he said it was the duty of Muslims to kill Jews because of President Trump's decision to move the United States' embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan, the founder of an Islamic institute in Houston, said “[Judgement Day] will not come until Muslims fight the Jews there, in Palestine” in a Dec. 8 sermon titled “Our duties towards Al-Quds [Jerusalem].”
“The Muslims will kill the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees 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 imam said in a video posted and translated by MEMRI TV.
He added: “The Muslims will have victory. [Jews] know these facts, brothers and sisters, but they are trying to delay it…because they don’t want for us to be religious.”
Al-Rousan issued two statements following the inflammatory video, the second of which was an apology “without any qualification.”
Initially, the Texas imam said, in light of his being opposed to “all forms of terrorism,” he was “mortified that an impassioned sermon I gave in light of President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration is being seen as a call for the very things I despise.”
In his second statement, Al-Rousan explained Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders helped him understand how his sermon “can be seen as a call for violence against Jews.”
But the CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs, Roz Rothstein, told Fox News the imam’s apology is “still concerning because he frames the problem as one of interpretation, rather than acknowledging that his sermon was fundamentally anti-Semitic and supportive of violence.”
And Rothstein said Al-Rousan was not alone in his incendiary rhetoric about Jerusalem.
Another imam was suspended for one month without pay after his own Dec. 8 sermon, for saying Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque “remains prisoner in the hands of the Jews” and praying for the annihilation of “the plundering oppressors,” as reported by NJ.com. The imam, Aymen Elkasaby, also referred to Jewish people as “apes and pigs.”
And in July, a California imam apologized after a videotaped excerpt was translated showing him calling on Allah to “liberate Al Aqsa Mosque from the filth of Jews,” as reported by the LA Times.
“Oh, Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one,” he said.
Rothstein said she hoped the controversies turned into a "teachable moment."
“Unfortunately, importing this kind of hateful rhetoric to the United States may become common if we are not careful,” she said.