A prominent Shia imam in Southern California, who is widely regarded as a moderate leader and promoter of interfaith dialogue, is being criticized for his statements linking ISIS with Israel.

Imam Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini made the controversial statements during a public sermon on June 23 when he addressed his congregation at the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County mosque in Costa Mesa.

"ISIS is the production of the Israeli intelligence," he said. "Most of their officers were trained in Israel, including Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi."

Al-Baghdadi is the founder of the Islamic State terrorist group, which has been associated with bomb and vehicle attacks, most recently the Aug. 17 attack in Barcelona that left 13 dead and more than 100 injured.

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