On July 21st, 2017, Egyptian-born American preacher Ammar Shahin delivered a sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis (ICD), northern California. After the sermon became public, the Middle East Media Research Institute, known as MEMRI, took the video and published some of the original transcript (in English) in addition to transcripts from Arabic portions of the sermon, which were translated into English. Here are some of the more extreme portions of the sermon of Imam Ammar Shahin.
Sheikh Ammar Shahin: “Allah does not change the situation of people ‘until they change their own situation.’ The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah…’ They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani, oh Indian… No, it will say: Oh Muslim. Muslim… ‘Come, there is someone behind me – except for the Gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews. Except for a certain tree that they are growing today in Palestine, in that area, except this form of tree, which they are growing today… That’s the tree that will not speak to the Muslims.
“Oh Allah, support the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the rest of the Muslim lands. Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them, and the wonders of Your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.
“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds.”
Rather than taking responsibility for Imam Ammar Shahin’s words during the sermon, ICD preferred to attack the credibility of MEMRI. This was how ICD responded to MEMRI’s coverage of the sermon (taken from the description of the YouTube clip featuring the sermon):
“MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.”
In reality: MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. To date, over 500 college and universities, in the United States and worldwide, have utilized MEMRI material. As MEMRI Board Member Professor Bernard Lewis said, “MEMRI is the single most important development in Middle East Studies in the past 25 years.”