Is Prayer to Allah “destroy accursed Jews” reflecting Islamic values?

In two Friday sermons delivered at the Al-Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal, Canada, in August 2014, Sheikh Sayyed Al-Ghitawi prayed to Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews” and to “kill them one by one.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated Sheikh Sayyed Al-Ghitawi’s prayers:

[Posted on August 16, 2014]

You are aware of what is going on in Palestine – the massacres and the forbidden violations. The [Palestinians] are our brothers, our kin. We are followers of the same prophet, the Prophet Muhammad. On Judgment Day, Allah will ask us what we have done for them. We have done nothing for them except to extend our prayers to them.

[…]

Boycotting the Israeli products that are imported here is beneficial in many ways. Any of us who buys one of these products should know that he is buying a bullet that will hit the Muslims. If you boycott these products, you will have an argument to present to Allah on Judgment Day. When the Lord asks you: “What have you done for them?” you will say: “Lord, at the very least, I refrained from buying their products.” It’s not that there are no alternatives. There are many alternatives. Ever since the non-Muslims – they were non-Muslims, I’m sad to say – began to boycott those products, the [Israelis] have lost a lot of money. It is, first and foremost, our duty to boycott these products. Educate yourself about all these products and boycott them. Whether or not violations are perpetrated against the Muslims in Palestine, boycott them, so that we will have an argument to present to Allah when we meet Him.

[…]

Oh Allah, support our brothers who wage Jihad for Your sake everywhere. Oh Allah, support our brothers the mujahideen in Palestine. Oh Allah, give them patience. Oh Allah, help them gain a foothold. Oh Allah, help them gain a foothold. Oh Allah, give them victory over their enemy. Oh Allah, destroy the accursed Jews. Oh Allah, show us the black day You inflict upon them. Oh Allah, show us the wonders of Your might and ability inflicted upon them.

[…]

Oh Allah, turn their children into orphans and their women into widows, and make them suffer adversities, oh Lord of the Worlds.

[…]

[Posted on August 3, 2014]

Oh Allah, grant victory to our brothers who wage Jihad in Palestine, oh Lord. Oh Allah, help them gain a foothold. Oh Allah, unite their ranks. Oh Allah, heal the sick among them. Oh Allah, satiate their hunger, clothe them, and quench their thirst. Oh Allah, have mercy upon their martyrs, oh Lord of the Worlds. Oh Allah, destroy the accursed Jews. Oh Allah, show us the black day You inflict upon them. Oh Allah, show us the wonders of Your might and ability inflicted upon them, and make the land quake under their feet. Oh Allah, kill them one by one. Do not leave a single one of them. Oh Allah, turn their children into orphans and their women into widows. Oh Allah, make them suffer adversities.

On February 20, 2017 Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration issued a press release regarding these prayers:

Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration reiterates its strong condemnation of any hate speech regardless of the target community, and regardless of the speaker. This condemnation includes any speech targeting the Jewish community, including the clumsy and unacceptable phrasing used in the videos of a sermon held in 2014 at the Center by a substitute imam.

We noticed, at that time back in August 2014, that the substitute imam’s intention was not to call for the destruction of Jewish individuals or the elimination of this community. His wording was, however, tainted by an abusive generalization, and we consider that a serious mistake.

We met with the substitute imam immediately after he gave these sermons to request that he clarify his speech and correct his mistakes. Nothing in the Muslim religion allows for incitement of destruction of a community or individuals; nothing permits or allows attacks on the sacredness of human life. The substitute imam, as a religious cleric, knew this rightly and immediately recognized both his error and the dangerous phrasing that could be misinterpreted by anyone listening to his speech.

As indicated in our previous press release, the videos that contain this controversial speech were hosted and shared on a YouTube channel that the Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration does not control. The person who filmed and shared these videos on his YouTube platform was granted permission to film as he does in other Centers. The administration was not involved in managing this YouTube channel or in the processing of the videos. This explains our error of not having thought to ask the withdrawal of the videos.

Finally, we reaffirm that Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and hate speech, and we would like to offer our sincere apologies to anyone who legitimately felt offended by the supplications made in these videos.

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