Two U.S. Congressmen are asking the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to reveal the details of its investigation into the April 2019 video of Muslim children from a Philadelphia mosque performing antisemitic skits and singing violent songs.
"we will chop off their heads...we will lead the army of Allah fulfilling his promise, we will subject them to eternal torture...we will defend the land of divine guidance with our bodies...sacrifice our souls without hesitation."
Following multiple press articles, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations announced an investigation into the event and the Muslim American Society-Philadelphia chapter.
But more than five months have elapsed with no follow up from the Commission regarding their findings. Recently, New York Congressman Lee Zeldin and Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry sent a letter to the Commission's Executive Director Rue Landau requesting an update of their findings and asking whether further investigation needs to be made by the Department of Justice.
The letter also informed Landau of the Muslim American Society's role as the "overt arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood, and notes that "several senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood are designated as terrorists." Perry and Zeldin also noted that given that the Muslim American Society has 50 chapters throughout the United States, the results of the Philadelphia investigation are of national importance in trying to understand the role played by MAS and similar groups in indoctrinating American Muslims children towards extremism and violence.
Contacted about the letter, Landau did not respond to inquiries.
While the disturbing video received both local and national attention, why does the only apparent interest in the results of the Philadelphia Commission of Human Rights' investigation of the Muslim American Society coming from a congressman from New York and a congressman from Dauphin county, Pennsylvania?
Where are the voices coming from lawmakers in Philadelphia and local Muslim organizations purporting to be advocates for human rights?
The Philadelphia City Council has not taken action. While Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones prepared a city council resolution in outrage over Pennsylvania Representative Delegate Stephanie Borowicz's references to Jesus in an State House invocation during the swearing in of Muslim State Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell, there has been no similar resolutions or outrage over the Muslim American Society's promotion of songs about beheading Jews. Calls and emails to Jones and other councilmen asking if they too would add their voice in requesting an update from the Philadelphia Commissioner on Human Relations were ignored.
For her part, Johnson-Harrell's original response to the horrific video was particularly dismissive. "I wanted to note that all religions have sections of their holy books that they might not be particularly proud of..." Johnson-Harrell went on to cite Timothy 2:12, Peter 2:18, and Exodus 21:7 through 8, all of which make reference to slavery, as examples.
The Masjid Al Hidaya, where the video was filmed, sits in the congressional district of Congressman Brendan Boyle and neighbors the district covered by Congressman Dwight Evans. Calls to each Congressmen's local office indicated no awareness of the Zeldin/Perry letter, but staffers suggested they would investigate the matter further.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)- Philadelphia, which calls itself a Muslim human rights advocacy group, responded to MAS' head chopping video with a press release at the time, "Muslim Community Condemns Anti-Semitism." CAIR-Philadelphia executive director Jacob Bender was careful to add: "We should be careful, however, not to conflate criticism of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians with anti-Semitism. Thousands of American and Israeli Jews like myself are critical of the oppressive policies of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu."
"...CAIR and MAS omit reference to a shared background that limits their membership to those of a particular political bent, and undercuts their credibility. The Muslim Brotherhood is a generally covert international organization whose credo is "Allah is our goal; the Qur'an is our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; Struggle is our way; and death in the path of Allah is our highest aspiration."
CAIR Philadelphia has a history of running substantial campaigns whenever they wish to highlight issues of concern to them. That includes a recent effort targeting Starbucks over the name on a Muslim man's coffee cup. But they have issued no apparent follow up regarding the MAS Philadelphia video, or the remedial training CAIR was supposed to have provided to following the incident.
The Zeldin-Perry letter seeking disclosure of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commissions findings regarding MAS Philadelphia is a worthwhile effort, a positive step in the right direction and should be supported. It's a shame however that local officials do not seem nearly as motivated in responding to an incident that has tarred Philadelphia's reputation, and raised serious questions about growing levels of Islamist antisemitism in the city of brotherly love.
Leonard Getz, CPA, is an associate in Philadelphia for the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG)