MEMRI's Exposure Of Antisemitic Sermons By Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab At Philadelphia's Al-Aqsa Islamic Society Prompts Mosque's Apology
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MEMRI's Exposure Of Antisemitic Sermons By Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab At Philadelphia's Al-Aqsa Islamic Society Prompts Mosque's Apology

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 8:55 PM
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'We Are Shocked And Outraged... [By These] Reprehensible Anti-Jewish Remarks'; Imam Abouhatab Says ' What Was Attributed To Me Is Completely False' And 'Taken Out Of Context'; No Response From Mayor's Office, City And State Officials, Or Local Law Enforcement, Who Have Worked Closely With Mosque

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / March 13, 2019 / Following MEMRI's March 6, 2019 publication of a report on antisemitic sermons delivered by Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia, PA between November 2018 and February 2019, Al-Aqsa Islamic Society officials issued an apology.

On March 8, 2019, Board of Trustees secretary Chukri Khorchid and Imam Mohamed Shehata posted on the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society website: "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."

While the mosque statement noted "We are shocked and outraged to learn that one of our guest speakers" had made these statements, at the conclusion of Abouhatab's January 11, 2019 sermon, as worshipers prepared to leave, a mosque leader, likely Imam Mohamed Shehata himself, took the microphone and said: "On behalf of all of you, I would like to extend our gratitude to Sheikh Abdelmohsen Abouhattab for this good sermon." Similar expressions of gratitude by the same mosque leader were repeated after each of Abouhatab's sermons.

On March 9, Imam Abouhatab issued a "Public Statement" on his website, English and Arabic, denying that his statements were antisemitic, citing Quran verses and stating, in English: "I am not against any religion and what was attributed to me is completely false. I do not promote hate, nor do I insight [sic] violence. The religion of Islam calls me to living peacefully alongside others who share different faiths, and to never transgress against the rights of others, while always speaking the words of truth when need be and under the shade of the law."

As highlighted in the MEMRI report, the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society is known for interfaith activity and for working with Philadelphia mayors Michael Nutter (D) and Jim Kenney (D), the ADL and other Jewish organizations, the FBI, law enforcement, and more, including participation in a November 2018 "Securing Sacred Spaces and Places" summit in Philadelphia hosted by the ADL, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (USAO), and the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC), at which Chukri Korchid spoke.

To date, only the ADL has spoken out about Imam Abouhatab's statements, the mosque's apology, and Abouhatab's subsequent denial. Following Abouhatab's denial, the ADL issued a statement calling it "flying in the face of multiple expert translations" and said he was "shamefully unrepentant for spouting anti-Jewish hate." It added that the organization had conferred with the city's Commission on Human Relations about the incident and that it would continue its interfaith work with Al-Aqsa as the mosque investigates the sermons. Additionally, as of this writing, the videos of Abouhatab's sermons that MEMRI translated remain on the mosque's YouTube channel.

MEMRI Lantos Project Mission To Expose Antisemitism And To Educate

The Lantos Antisemitism Documentation Project documents antisemitic themes in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, and Turkish newspaper reports, editorials, and other media sources. This project maintains the Lantos Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial Archives, which is the largest archive in the world of translated antisemitic content from the Middle East from the past decade.

MEMRI's objective in highlighting the work of the Lantos Project is to bring the issue of antisemitism to media, to present evidence so that legal countermeasures can be taken, and to inform policy makers in order to provide the informational infrastructure for policies, strategies and legislative initiatives to counter antisemitism. It also seeks to enhance academic research of antisemitism.

The Lantos Project distributes all its content – reports, analysis, and videos – through a blog and all its videos through the Lantos MEMRI TV page. The Lantos Project YouTube page includes videos from annual events held in the Speaker's Dining Room of the U.S. Capitol marking the establishment of the Lantos Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial Archives.

No other organization does this vital work; all major organizations that focus on antisemitism depend upon the research from this project.

MEMRI research and translation efforts on exposing antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world have provided crucial resources to educate policymakers, media organizations, the public, and others. MEMRI asks for your help to continue this important work through tax-deductible donations.

Please visit the Sermons By Imams In The West project page.

About MEMRI:

Exploring the Middle East and South Asia through their media, MEMRI bridges the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, Dari, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends.

Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. MEMRI's main office is located in Washington, DC, with branch offices in various world capitals. MEMRI research is translated into English, French, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Hebrew.

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