California Hate Preacher’s Record of Extremism

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Ammar Shahin
Ammar Shahin

Imam Ammar Shahin of the Islamic Center of Davis, California, drew national attention last month when he called for Jews to be annihilated during a Friday sermon. Now it has been revealed this is not the first time he has encouraged extremism.

In his speech he called on Allah to “liberate Al-Aqsa from the filth of the Jews” saying “Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”

His comments sparked a wave of outrage. The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, issued a statement condemning the sermon as “anti-Semitic and dangerous.”

Local Muslim activist Shireen Qudosi launched a petition to demand Shahin be fired (sign the petition below).

His mosque initially tried to portray his comments as being taken out of context, but he was eventually forced to issue a public apology.

Qudosi rejected Shahin’s apology as not good enough and is continuing to call for his departure.

The Middle East Media Research Institute, which initially publicized the translation of the incendiary parts of Shahin’s sermon, has investigated further into Shahin’s record as imam.

What they have found is troubling:

On July 14, Imam Shahin delivered a sermon about Jerusalem in which he said “Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, show us the wonders of Your ability that you inflict upon them. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them… Oh Allah, count them one by one and destroy them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them. Oh Allah, destroy them and do not spare their young or their elderly… Oh Allah, turn Jerusalem and Palestine into a graveyard for the Jews.”

This indicates that, contrary to his apology, the sentiments expressed were not isolated in any sense and were part of his longstanding ideology.

In January 2017 Shahin hosted a talk at the Islamic Center of Davis by Sheikh Muhammad Rateb Al-Nabulsi.

However Nabulsi previously expressed support for the death penalty for homosexuality.

“Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring,”  Nabulsi said in 2011 on Hamas TV. “Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”

In November 2016, Shahin delivered a sermon calling democracy idol worship.

“These things, these matters, democracy, constitution, all of these things that people make today, are like the idols that the infidels used to worship, which were made from dates,” he said. “The infidels used to worship idols from dates. They’ll make their own date idol that looks very nice. But when they get hungry, what would they do? They eat it. This is what happened. They eat their gods.”

His past statements are in keeping with his sermon of July 21 and indicate a preacher with a longstanding commitment to extremist views.

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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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