Montreal mosque facing calls for investigation after imam preaches on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Disturbing.

Prayer leader in question has been suspended and his remarks denounced by NCCM but local mosque authorities, like any local religious authorities, need to ensure that prayer leaders do not engage in hate speech:

A Montreal mosque where an imam had prayed for Jews to be killed “one by one” is facing fresh calls for an investigation after more videos surfaced online showing anti-Semitic preaching.

The Middle East Media Research Institute released a video on Tuesday of sermons in which an imam at the Al Andalous Islamic Centre conveyed conspiracy theories about Jews, their history and their origins.

Sheikh Wael Al-Ghitawi is shown in the video clips claiming that Jews were “people who slayed the prophets, shed their blood and cursed the Lord,” reported MEMRI, which translated the Friday sermons.

MEMRI

MEMRI

The imam went on to say Jews were the descendants of “Turkish mongols” and had been “punished by Allah,” who made them “wander in the land.” He further said that Jews had no historical ties to Jerusalem or Palestine.

The view conveyed by the imam has typically been used to deny that Jews have a connection to the land of Israel, said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of the Quebec branch of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

 “This is a bizarre strain of radical propaganda. It appears in the writings of Hamas and other groups like it and claims to debunk Jewish history,” said the rabbi, who said it was “unseemly” to use a religious service to propagate hate.

He said he did not believe such views, as well as the “deeply troubling” earlier calls to violence, were supported by the broader Muslim community “but its presence in this mosque needs to be investigated.”

The videos were posted on YouTube in November 2014. The centre was already in the spotlight over an August 2014 video that showed an imam asking Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews,” and “kill them one by one.”

In a press release last week concerning the August 2014 video, the mosque administration blamed “clumsy and unacceptable phrasing” by a substitute imam, whose wording was “tainted by an abusive generalization.” The mosque could not be reached for comment about the most recent video.

“If you examine the annals of history you will see that the Jews do not have any historical right to Palestine,” Al-Ghitawi said in the latest video. He claimed there was “not a single Jew in Jerusalem and Palestine” for lengthy periods.

“Jerusalem is Arabic and Islamic,” he said at a separate sermon. “It is our land, the land of our fathers and forefathers. We are the people most entitled to it. We will not forsake a single inch of this land.”

On Monday the National Council of Canadian Muslims denounced the “incendiary speech” in the earlier Al-Andalous video, as well as a 2016 sermon at a Toronto mosque about the “filth of the Jews.”

The Muslim Association of Canada, which is affiliated with the Toronto mosque, has apologized and said it had suspended the prayer leader in question and launched an internal investigation into the incident.

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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