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Islamic Preachers in US Escalate Antisemitic Rhetoric Amid Gaza War, Campus Protests

Students at George Washington University in Washington, DC on April 25, 2024 obeying a call to pray while facing east towards Mecca, a form of worship particular to the Muslim faith. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters Connect

Several Islamic preachers and other authority figures in the US have been leveraging their positions in recent weeks to disseminate hateful messages about Israel and the Jewish people, contributing to a global surge in antisemitism that has reached record levels since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

Certain imams at mosques across the country have used their platforms to deliver sermons in which they pushed antisemitic conspiracies about Jews and promoted false claims about Israel’s conduct in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas, and elsewhere, according to research by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In a Friday sermon delivered on April 26, Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi of the North Miami Islamic Center accused Israel of being “worse than the Nazis” and touted conspiracy theories that Israeli aid organizations used the 2010 Haiti earthquake as a cover to harvest innocent Haitians’ organs.

“It is not enough that they [Israel] stole their land; now they steal their skin,” he said, suggesting that Israel is engaging in similar practices during its current war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

“Go and find who is behind organ trading in this country or this world. Go and ask them, those who know,” Kablawi urged his congregants. “All that is because there is no God for these people. All that is because these people look at you as nothing but a mistake, or at best, you were created for their service.”

Among his supplications at the end of his sermon, he pleaded, “Oh God, fall upon the tyrannical Jews,” and “fall upon the brothers of apes and pigs … Oh God cut off their seed.”

The North Miami Islamic Center (or Masjid As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah), where Kablawi serves as the sole imam, calls itself “one of the largest Islamic centers in the State of Florida.”

Days earlier on April 20, a different mosque in Fort Lauderdale, Florida featured a sermon by an unnamed imam who claimed “they [Jews, unlike Christians] are always injecting the poison inside the communities to affect them.”

His colleague, another unnamed imam, alleged at the same venue one week later that elite universities — currently the site of an eruption of anti-Israel protests — are “controlled by Zionists.”

“Why do they want this social unrest? In order to push their agenda,” he continued. “And their agenda is about what? It is about totalitarianism. It is about control. It is about subjugating every human being on the surface of this Earth to one group, led by the Zionists of this world. That is pretty much it.”

The speaker claimed that the university demonstrations were a cover for increased government surveillance while infiltrating Mossad [Israeli intelligence] agents were instigating campus violence.

“You cannot criticize the prime minister [of Israel], and you cannot deny the Holocaust, and you cannot say that it is a genocide [in Gaza]. Yes, I can! Yes, I can! We all do, we all do,” he said.

The same imam had recently referenced antisemitic assertions about the Talmud that Jews believe gentiles are “animals in human form … created to serve them.” Further notable libels from the sermon included him saying that it is “an honor for the Jews to shoot Gazan babies while they are still in their incubators and it is permissible for them to steal land from non-Jews,” and claiming that “throughout history you will find that Jews orchestrated everything against Muslims. But who executed? The Christians.

Abdelrahman Badawy, imam of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Staten Island Center, preached at the MAS Youth Center the same day as Kablawi’s sermon, vocalizing his belief that “the devils, the Zionists, have no interest in leaving the Muslims alone over there. They don’t care which borders you go back to; they are going to keep taking and taking and taking.”

Badawy drew parallels between modern Israel and Banu Qurayza, the Jewish tribe that feuded with Muhammad and the early Muslims and were executed for their alleged treason.

“Banu Qurayza had not officially taken up arms yet … They did. They officially broke the treaty … Well, it wasn’t official because they have their sneaky ways,” he said. “So, these people were cunning, they were conniving, they were foul, and you see the parallels today. They go for the women and children.”

Other public statements by Islamic scholars were directed at anti-Israel college protesters.

Tarik Ata, the imam of the Orange County Islamic Foundation in California, preached last month that “every ounce of fear and anger that you put in the heart of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his thugs, and all those who support, collaborate, and finance this violent and inhumane war against a primarily civilian population — every ounce of fear that you put in their hearts by your lawful protests is rewarded by Allah.”

He added, “Allah never wastes a reward for those who do a good deed. Allah says in this verse that whatever step you take that brings you pain — emotional pain, I mean — that brings fear into the hearts of these cruel people, these enemies of humanity, that you will be rewarded for it.”

Ata also conspicuously did not refer to the Holocaust by its name: “The only comparison today between Nazi Germany and that whole fiasco — that terrible situation — and what is going on today is that you, Netanyahu, are similar to Hitler and Zionism is similar to Nazism.”

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), characterized the effort to convert Jews as a religious duty while speaking on May 3 at the Muslim Community Center of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Our number one priority today is da’wa [literally ‘invitation,’ with the meaning of ‘Islamic outreach/proselytism’],” he urged. “We are people all throughout this country who are hurting and who are suffering, and they need this message, they need the goodness of this Islamic nation to help them.”

Walid continued, “I looked to the left, I saw nothing, but a bunch of white Jewish people – women who we wouldn’t even think were dressed appropriately – were putting up their hands, and the Muslims said ‘amen’ and these Jewish people said ‘amen.’ They need to be invited to Islam.”

Walid’s comments came after CAIR’s co-founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, said in November that he was “happy” to witness Hamas’ rampage across southern Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group invaded the Jewish state from neighboring Gaza, murdered 1,200 people, and kidnapped over 250 others as hostages. The massacre launched the ongoing war in Gaza, where Israel has been waging a military campaign aimed at dismantling Hamas and freeing the hostages.

Since the atrocities of Oct. 7, there has been a global surge in antisemitism, with several countries reporting record numbers of antisemitic incidents.

The Anti-Defamation League released a report last month showing antisemitic incidents in the US rose 140 percent last year, reaching an all-time high. Most of the outrages occurred after Oct. 7, during the ensuing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

On college campuses specifically, the ADL report found that antisemitic incidents rose 321 percent, disrupting the studies of Jewish students and causing many to feel unsafe.

Meanwhile, antisemitic incidents have also skyrocketed to record highs in several other countries around the world, especially in Europe, since Oct. 7.

In October, Cygnal conducted a survey indicating 57.5 percent of Muslim American respondents felt that Hamas was at least “somewhat justified” in attacking Israel “as part of their struggle for a Palestinian state.”

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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