Reda Shata, the current imam of the Islamic Society of Monmouth County (ISMC), was the imam of theÂ Islamic Society of Bay RidgeÂ from 2002 to 2006. It is also called Masjid Al-Aman.
He originally came from Egypt. He taught Sharia law in Saudi Arabia from 1990 to 1995. His website says he is known for his â€œmoderateâ€ interpretation of Sharia. He has said that he views the Saudi version of Sharia as too strict.
The New York Times reported in 2006 that Shata views Hamas â€œas a powerful symbol of resistance.â€ He was under NYPD surveillance when he was in Bay Ridge as a â€œTier One Person of Interest.â€ Those that qualify for this designation have a â€œthreat potential based on their position at a particular location, links to an organization, overseas links and/or criminal history.â€
In June 2003, four suspected members of Hamas were arrested in front of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge. That same year, Mohammed El-Mezain spoke at the mosque under Shataâ€™s leadership. A NYPD intelligence report describes El-Mezain as the â€œsuspected North American leader of Hamas.â€ He was convicted in 2008 for fundraising for Hamas.
In 2004, Shata described a Palestinian mother who carried out a suicide bombing as a â€œmartyr.â€ The bombing killed four Israeli security personnel and injured Israeli and Palestinian civilians. He also spoke at a 2004 memorial service for Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a founder and spiritual leader of Hamas that was killed in an Israeli airstrike. He said the â€œlion of Palestine has been martyred.â€
In 2012, Shata â€œlikedâ€ a page on Facebook dedicated to Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the pro-Hamas spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also enthusiastically supported the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate in Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, as expressed in multiple postings on Facebook. He even held a celebration of Morsiâ€™s victory at the mosque.
[ad] Shata will not shake a womanâ€™s hand and supports banning music that â€œencourages sexual desire.â€ In a sermon on his website titled â€œWhy They Hate Islam,â€ he preaches that Muslims â€œare prey for many predatorsâ€ and â€œthese animalsâ€ target Muslims even in their homes. He says that the enemies of Islam are influenced by Satan and that Allah created good and evil, with the good created in the East, and the struggle has not ended. This implies that the anti-Islam evil comes from the West.
He also says in the sermon that there are people in â€œhigh, influential positionsâ€ getting rich off of destroying Muslim lives and promoting segregation. He criticizes the â€œoverwhelming fearâ€ of â€œIslamic politicsâ€ and the belief that â€œa nation ruled by Islamâ€ will be war-like. He also blames anti-Islamic sentiment on â€œcursed, strict ideals and stubbornness.â€
Shataâ€™s website shows that he frequently guest lectures at theÂ Islamic Center of Passaic County.
 â€œBio,â€ Sheikh Reda Shata website, https://www.redashata.com/English/index.php?page=bio
 â€œAn Imam in America: To Lead the Faithful in a Faith Under Fire,â€ New York Times, March 6, 2006.Â https://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/06/nyregion/06imam.html?pagewanted=all#
 Sullivan, Eileen. â€œNYPD Spied of Cityâ€™s Muslim Anti-Terror Partners,â€ Associated Press, October 6, 2011. https://www.ap.org/Content/AP-In-The-News/2011/NYPD-spied-on-citys-Muslim-anti-terror-partners
 NYPD Intelligence Strategy Report,â€ May 15, 2006, obtained by the Associated Press, hosted at PrivacySOS.org, https://www.privacysos.org/sites/all/files/NYPD_racist.pdf.
 â€œAn Imam in America.â€
 â€œAn Imam in America.â€
 â€œSermons,â€ Sheikh Reda Shata website, https://www.redashata.com/English/index.php?page=sermons.
 â€œNews & Events,â€ Sheikh Reda Shata website, https://www.redashata.com/English/index.php.