“These outrageous statements are anti-Semitic and dangerous,” Anti-Defamation League New Jersey Regional Director Joshua Cohen said in a statement. “We reject this attempt to cast this matter [Trump’s Jerusalem declaration] as a religious war between Jews and Muslims.”
The ADL was founded in 1913 to combat anti-semitism.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote a letter to the president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City slamming the remarks, according to Algemeiner. In the letter to Ahmed Shedeed, he highlighted the “anguish concerning the abhorrent remarks of Imam Aymen Elkasaby concerning our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Booker had previously invited Shedeed to then President Barack Obama’s state of the union address in 2016.
Even the local branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) slammed the move. “CAIR has a long history of challenging anti-Semitism in all its forms,” New Jersey Director Jim Sues told Islamist Watch. “We believe that statements expressed in this sermon are inappropriate and should be condemned.”
CAIR has long been criticized for connections to extremists. It was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates in 2014 and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in American history.
Responding to the backlash, Shedeed says he is sending Elkasaby away to meet “interfaith scholars” who would “consult with and retrain him,” according to Algemeiner. He will also have to submit all future sermons to another imam for vetting.
“This is like sending someone to rehab,” Shedeed said. “The scholars will help him to learn to deal with these issues.”