A Californian imam called on Allah to “annihilate” Jews “down to the very last one,” urging for the Al-Aqsa mosque in Temple Mount in Jerusalem to be freed from their “filth.” His comments came amid violence at the holy site between Israeli police and Palestinians.
Sheikh Ammar Shahin delivered his Friday sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis, where he serves as imam, some 20km from Sacramento, the capital of California, according to a statement from the center.
In the video, the imam called on Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” and to “destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Shahin’s hour-long speech in both English and Arabic was mostly dedicated to the dispute over the Jerusalem holy site. Israeli authorities earlier limited access to the compound housing the Al-Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
The move sparked protests in Jerusalem and across the West Bank which repeatedly turned violent.
Israel also introduced metal detectors outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque after a fatal attack on police officers. Following numerous protests by the Palestinians, it has agreed to remove the detectors.
“Oh Allah, count them all and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them,” Shahin said in the video.
In his speech, the imam also quoted a Hadith (sacred text of the words and stories of the Prophet Muhammad) saying that Judgement Day will come after the Muslims fight the Jews in a final battle.
Shahin’s sermon sparked controversy on social media, with some people saying that he “preaches violence.”
And he’s allowed to preach that? Shouldn’t it be considered a hate crime or racist?
— Raymond (@linus2707) July 25, 2017
@FBILosAngeles, this speech isn’t protected under the 1st amendment. It is inciting violence. Do something.
— #FreeWalklikeajedi (@DaDecibels) July 25, 2017
Others even called his sermon “a crime,” calling for his questioning and arrest.
This is the pinnacle of hate speech and incitement to violence. It is radicalization. This should be a crime and he should be arrested!
— Donna Magee (@dmagee3_donna) July 25, 2017
Atty General of California @AGBecerra should call this man in for questioning.
— (((Haya Eytan))) (@TeachESL) July 25, 2017
Does California still have the death penalty? ‘Cause this fella? Awesome candidate for it. Just saying.
— Emanuel Gabriel (@RedLocque) July 25, 2017
What he preaches is far from being a “religion of peace,” people wrote.
Religion of peace they need wiping out of this world until then we will never have peace anywhere
— Teresa m Murphy (@TeresamMurphy3) July 25, 2017
Some also asked US President Donald Trump to investigate the speech.