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ADL Responds to Statements from Muslim Community About Imam’s Sermon

  • December 27, 2017

Houston, Texas, December 27, 2017…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)  appreciates the statement made by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and another statement by 13 members of Houston’s Muslim Community regarding the December 8 sermon by  Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan, a sermon in which he called for the killing of Jews. According to the release from the 13 Muslim leaders, the Imam expressed “profound regret and willingness to work with Jewish and interfaith leaders to try and correct the situation.”  We especially appreciate the declaration:  “There should be no doubt-we stand with the Jewish community to combat anti-Semitism, and we remain confident that the Jewish community stands with us to combat Islamophobia and hate in all forms.”

However, a statement released by Imam Al-Rousan indicates he doesn’t fully understand the ramifications of his sermon.  Although he says he opposes anyone who could “commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians,” and that he’s “mortified” that his sermons is “being seen as a call for the very things I despise,” video of the sermon unmistakably shows him citing an apocalyptic Hadith which declares “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews.  The Muslims will kill the Jews….”

“We would like to see Imam Al-Rousan unequivocally apologize to the Jewish community for his highly inflammatory sermon and through future actions, demonstrate he is committed to understanding why the sermon was an incitement to violence,” said Dayan Gross, ADL Regional Director.   “Clearly other members of Houston’s Muslim community understand this kind of rhetoric has no place in Houston nor in any house of worship.  We would hope the Imam could show Jews, Muslims, and all members of our community that he is committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation, cooperation, and understanding,” Gross said.

ADL maintains a productive, ongoing relationship with many members of Houston’s Muslim community through which civil dialogue is able to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations. We would hope that Imam Al-Rousan could eventually engage in such dialogue and would commit to doing so before making dangerous pronouncements like he did on December 8.

We also would like him to commit to never using this kind of hateful rhetoric again and to undergo sensitivity training on the harmful use of religious language to promote violence.