The Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia hosted Egyptian-native Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab a number of times over the course of a few months beginning in November 2018 in a series of at least three guest sermons.
Here is a compilation of particularly vile anti-Semitic sentiments of his from these sermons, as documented by MEMRI (Middle East Media research Institute).
“Al-Aqsa Islamic Society rejects anti-Semitism in any form. We are shocked and outraged to learn that one of our guest speakers said reprehensible anti-Jewish remarks on the floor of Al-Aqsa. This in no way represents our beliefs or policies. We condemn this action and will make sure that this never happens again. We expect that all guest speakers will respect and uphold our policy that hatred against any group of people or religion will not be tolerated.”
A representative of Al-Aqsa also apologized for Abouhatab at a CAIR-Philadelphia banquet.
Clarion sources add context to this story: These sources say that Al-Aqsa rarely apologizes for these type of incidents — only if they happen to reach the ears of the public, which causes the mosque major embarrassment.
Equally concerning about Al-Aqsa is the fact that the institution runs an afternoon program for children called the Al-Aqsa Academy.
For his part, Abouhatab said the accusations of anti-Semitism being made against him are “completely false” and “taken out of context.”
The Anti-Defamation League called him “shamefully unrepentant” and his denial “brazen.”
Abouhatab was also employed at Masjid Al-Jamia in West Philadelphia for 10 years but was let go three years ago. Calvin Shuja Moore, director of Al-Jamia, said Abouhatab did not make “any kind of controversial statements” while he was in the mosque’s employ but was “a little political.”
Moore said that this was one of the reasons he was let go. However, he said Abouhatab was primarily dismissed because mosque officials wanted him to be engaged in more community teaching as well as other duties (besides giving sermons) and Abouhatab declined.
Again, Clarion sources tell a different story. These sources say Abouhatab was fired from Al Jamia after he angered the mosque’s board of directors for accusing them of acting like Christians.
Meanwhile, Abouhatab continues to speak at area mosques to which he is frequently invited (and which pay him to speak). He is considered a respected authority on Islam due to the fact that he studied at the prominent Al-Azhar University in Egypt (the preeminent institution of Sunni Islam) and is known in the community for his vast knowledge of the hadiths (words and actions attributed to the Islamic prophet Mohammed), something rare in the Islamic community.
Due to his known scholarship, audiences do not question his interpretation of Islam, say the sources. To the contrary, they are easily incited by his anti-Semitic diatribes.
Since most of the mosques where he speaks do not have internet sites, his talks are not highly publicized beyond announcements posted in the mosque itself.