In a Friday sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis in California, an imam called on Allah to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” and to “annihilate them down to the very last one.” His sermon was translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Imam Ammar Shahin’s sermon was initially posted to the YouTube account of the Islamic Center of Davis. Shahin was born in Egypt and received a B.A. in Islamic studies there before immigrating to the United States and obtaining a degree in computer engineering.
Shahin quoted a hadith—a saying attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad—that claims, “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah.”
Discussing this hadith, Shahin observed, “The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews.”
“We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place,” he added. “It will say: Oh Muslim … It will not say: Oh Palestinian, oh Egyptian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani, oh Indian … No, it will say: Oh Muslim. Muslim.”
Shahin continued by calling on Allah to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews …. count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”
“Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this,” he added.
Palestinian leaders in Fatah—the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority, which is sometimes described as “moderate”—and the Islamist terrorist group Hamas have adopted similarly incendiary language.
Shahin’s call to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” echoes the sentiment of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said in 2015, “The al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”
Omar el-Abed, a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three members of an Israeli family on Friday, similarly wrote on Facebook before the attack that one of his motivations was that “They desecrate the al-Aqsa mosque and we are asleep, it’s a disgrace that we sit idly by.”
The Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and the home of the al-Aqsa Mosque—has long been used as a subject of incitement against Jews. A teacher at the al-Aqsa Mosque school once described Jews who visit the area “monkeys and pigs,” while numerous hate preachers have called “to annihilate the Jews” and implored their followers to “slaughter Jews.”
Palestinian leaders often declare that al-Aqsa is in danger, an accusation that predates the founding of Israel.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow David Makovsky explained:
Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed).