Texas imam criticised for lack of apology over anti-Semitic sermon

Texas imam criticised for lack of apology over anti-Semitic sermon

Anti-Defamation League say Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan's statement 'indicates he doesn’t fully understand the ramifications' of his speech

Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan
Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan

Jewish groups have rejected an Imam’s statement in which he failed to explicitly apologise for an anti-Semitic sermon.

Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan of Houston’s Tajweed Institute earlier this month delivered what he called an “impassioned sermon,” according to a statement about the speech issued on Wednesday.

Al-Rousan had delivered his inflammatory speech on Dec. 8, two days after President Donald Trump announced the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

He said: “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims will kill the Jews.”

The imam also asserted in his speech that Jews “killed the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah.” He accused Britain of bringing Jews to Palestine, adding “So do not tell me that Palestine is the country of the Jewish people. No!”

A video of the imam’s speech was first translated and distributed last week by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.

Following calls to apologise by The Anti-Defamation League, the Imam responded by saying  “I unequivocally affirm and uphold the dignity, sanctity and value of all human life, including – of course – people of the Jewish faith,”

“I must also state in no uncertain terms that I am absolutely and completely opposed to and disgusted by all forms of terrorism, all terrorists, and I oppose anyone who would commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians.  This is why as a person of faith and a religious leader, that I am 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.”

However, the local Anti-Defamation League’s division rejected this response, saying the “statement released by Imam Al-Rousan indicates he doesn’t fully understand the ramifications of his sermon.”

“We would like to see Imam Al-Rousan unequivocally apologise to the Jewish community for his highly inflammatory sermon and through future actions, demonstrate he is committed to understanding why the sermon was an incitement to violence,”

“We are deeply troubled that a local Imam used the Jerusalem announcement as a pretext to scapegoat Jews and call for their deaths and Israel’s destruction. Calls to violence and appeals to anti-Semitism and hatred are completely unacceptable and have no place in any mosque or house of worship.  This is incitement to violence borne of hatred, the likes of which we have seen before from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. We hope that our Muslim brothers and sisters will likewise publicly condemn the Imam’s hateful words.”

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