Shortly after the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported on March 6 that the Al Aqsa Mosque in North Philadelphia held three anti-Semitic sermons over a four-month period, each delivered by guest imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab (Nov. 16, 2018, "Oh Servant of Allah, There is a Jew behind me, come and Kill him; Jan. 11, 2019, "The propaganda and the media are controlled by the Jews"; Feb. 15, 2019, "The Jews are the vilest people..."), the mosque issued an apology, which can be read on its website. But it's hard to believe that it came as a surprise to mosque officials that this guest delivered anti-Semitic sermons, especially when after one of them stood before the audience and said, "We thank Abdelmohsen Abouhatab for his wonderful sermon," a piece of information not reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer or Channel 10 News.
Are these anti-Semitic speeches an aberration or part of a pattern?
In late January 2019, MEMRI released clips of the sermons of Imam Naeem Abdullah, of the Masjid Al-Mu'min mosque and the Nur Uz-Zamaan Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which recorded him saying the Jews are "running everything" and "have all the money," and that Allah "changed some of them into apes and pigs ... we are asking Allah to guide us on the straight path and [to not] make us like the Jews... 'And not like those who go astray' — the Christians."
Imam Abdullah is also the imam of Masjid Uthman Dan Fodio in West Philadelphia, the subject of investigative anchor Chad Pradelli's recent ABC Action News report on child weddings and child sexual abuse of a 17-year-old and 10-year-girls (sisters) and the arrest of a 24-year-old man who "married" the older one at age 14.
On November 12, 2017 Imam Aymen Elkasaby of the Islamic Center of Jersey welcomed the "Interfaith Gathering of Unity" including two rabbis. Twelve days later, at the podium of the same mosque, he said, referring to an attack on a mosque in the Sinai, "This could have only been done by the enemies of Islam — the Jews and their subordinates from among the Muslim rulers. ... Oh Allah, count the oppressors one by one, and kill them down to the very last one. Do not leave a single one upon the earth!"
On Friday, December 8, 2017 Imam Abdullah Khadra delivered an anti-Semitic sermon in a mosque in the Raleigh, N.C. area, saying, "On Judgment Day the Muslims will kill the Jews[.] ... The Prophet Muhammad gave us the glad tidings that ... we will fight those Jews until the rocks and the trees will speak."
It seems apparent these hate speeches are more of a pattern than an aberration. It is what these imams believe, and it is what they are teaching their flocks. These teachings of hate have resulted in fatal attacks against Jews in France, Belgium, and most recently the Netherlands. Do we wait until it happens here? Until the Muslim leadership acknowledges the existence of a radical element in Islam and repudiates that element from their pulpits, the Philadelphia community should not be fooled into thinking that a damage-control apology means Islamic Jew-hatred is behind us.
Len Getz is the Philadelphia Associate of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG).