On September 12, 2017, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and others organized more than 40 activists – including Christian and Jewish community members, rabbis, pastors, a Holocaust survivor, and former professors at the University of California, Davis – to attend a City Council meeting in Davis, CA to protest and condemn Nazi-like Imam Ammar Shahin’s demand that every Jew in California, in America and in the world be murdered by Muslims and others. In a sermon he delivered at the heinous Islamic Center of Davis on July 21, 2017, Shahin prayed to Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” and to “annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.” Then, Shahin called for Allah to “make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this.”
This was not the first Nazi-like sermon in which Shahin demonized Jews and demanded the murder of every Jew. Only one week before, in a July 14th sermon, Shahin beseeched Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah count them down one by one and destroy them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them. Oh Allah, destroy them and do not spare their young or their elderly.”
When a firestorm erupted after Shahin’s July 21st sermon, he issued a phony, meaningless apology: “I do understand how my words were hurtful, and I am sorry. I understand that speech like this can encourage others to do hateful and violent acts, for this I, truly apologize.” But Shahin did not take back the hateful, violence-inciting message he delivered to his listeners at the Islamic Center – that Jews are filth and should be murdered. He did not promise to make amends by giving sermons in his radical mosque that would undo his racist, dangerous rants against Jews.
As horrific and potentially dangerous as Shahin’s actions are, the City Council has, to date, remained silent – even though at the meeting on July 12th, the City Council heard from community members who feel personally threatened and at risk for their physical safety as a result of Shahin’s incitement. Community members also criticized the City Council’s double standard: It would never remain silent if a Christian, Jewish or other religious leader debased another religious or ethnic group as “filth” and called for their murder.
David Kadosh, the ZOA’s Executive Director for the Western Region, told the City Council that Shahin’s “blind hatred for Jews is ingrained in his emotions and is a part of who he is.” Shahin has “brought hate into an otherwise peaceful community in Davis.” (The full recording of the City Council meeting can be viewed here: http://davis.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=747. Mr. Kadosh’s remarks begin at 32:40 into the video.)
Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, urged immediate action by the Davis City Council, stating, “It’s time for the City Council to finally end its shameful, deafening silence. First, it must forcefully and unequivocally condemn Ammar Shahin, and his hateful, dangerous and murderous statements against Jews, as despicable and abhorrent. Second, the City Council must call for his employment at the Islamic Center to be terminated, permanently and irrevocably. Finally, the City Council must call for UC Davis – located just across the street from the Islamic Center – to permanently and irrevocably sever relations with the extremist Jew-hating Shahin. He has delivered lectures on the campus, but his revolting anti-Semitism and incitement of genocide against the Jewish people should not be poisoning the minds of college students.”