Several groups are speaking out against a Dec. 8 sermon by an imam who recently moved to Houston from Florida claiming Judgment Day would come when the Muslims would kill the Jews in Palestine.
The sermon from Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan of the Tajweed Institute, ironically titled “Good Tidings,” claimed the Jews “killed the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah” and “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews.”
In a mixture of Arabic and English language, Al-Rousan goes on to quote the Qu’Ran to say, “The Muslims will kill the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say, ‘Oh, Muslim! Oh, servant of Allah! There is a Jew hiding behind me! Come and kill him!, except for the Gharqad tree, which is one of his trees.”
“This is the promise of Allah,” Al-Rousan continues. “The hour (Judgment Day) will not start until the Muslims fight the Jews there, in Palestine.”
More than a dozen other imams and organizers from Houston’s mosques and Islamic cultural centers signed a statement protesting Al-Rousan’s sermon. The statement declared several “senior Muslim leaders have been in direct contact” with Al-Rousan regarding the sermon, and that he has since “expressed profound regret” about his statements.
“There should be no doubt – we stand with the Jewish community to combat anti-Semitism,” the statement read in part, “and we remain confident that the Jewish community stands with us to combat Islamophobia and hate in all forms.”
The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, also released a statement criticizing the sermon.
“We would like to see Imam Al-Rousan unequivocally apologize to the Jewish community for his highly inflammatory sermon,” the statement read in part, “and through future actions, demonstrate he is committed to understanding why the sermon was an incitement to violence.”
“I unequivocally affirm and uphold the dignity, sanctity and value of all human life, including – of course – people of the Jewish faith,” Al-Rousan wrote in an apology statement. “I believe that hatred can only thrive in climates of fear, anger and ignorance. Because of this, I welcome the opportunity to meet with Jewish leaders and other community leaders in the near future.”