Imam who said to kill Jewish ‘pigs’ ‘could have spoken better’
JERSEY CITY — Aymen Elkasaby, the Imam who called Jews "apes and pigs" and asked for Allah's help to kill them “down to the very last one” has been severely disciplined by the president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City where he delivered his fiery words.
"The Imam whose Friday speech was quoted, could have spoken better," ICJC president Ahmed Shedeed said in a statement released to New Jersey 101.5.
"The Imam regrets the speech and the Islamic Center of Jersey City disavows unconditionally any insinuation that denigrates an entire people or that advocates violence against any person," the statement said. "The Islamic Center of Jersey City is currently investigating this issue and other inflammatory statements made by the Imam prior to this incident."
Elkasby made the statement — captured on video by the Middle East Media Research Institute and posted to its Facebook page — during the same week President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem, and the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the country's capital. Palestinians also consider part of Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.
He said so long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque — on a site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, considered holy to both faiths — remains under the "oppression" of Israel, "this nation" would be humiliated.
“Allah, make us among your armies. ... Allah, we ask you to grant us martyrdom on the threshold of Al-Aqsa Mosque. ... Count them one by one, and kill them down to the very last one. Do not leave a single one on the face of the Earth,” Elkasby said, according to a translation posted by the Middle East Forum.
Shedeed said in the wake of the khutbah, or sermon, on Dec. 8, Elkasby was suspended for a month without pay and will undergo training with "Imams with more inter-religious training."
Other steps that the ICJC will take include:
- The Imam will be permitted to deliver sermons only upon approval from the Imams’ Council of the Metropolitan Area and by Dr. Ali Chaudry, leader of the NJ Interfaith Coalition.
- A statement will be delivered by Imam Aymen Elkasaby, together with an English translation, expressing clarification and regret and making it clear where the Imam stands on issues of religious violence and inter-religious cooperation.
- A public event of unity will be hosted in the near future to reassure the interfaith community of our commitment to maintaining our strong relationships locally and nationally.
- Public events oriented around inter-religious cooperation for the religious communities of Hudson County, especially between the Islamic Center of Jersey City, Temple Beth-El of Jersey City and other Jewish institutions in the area, as well as the Brotherhood Sisterhood Association of Hudson County (with the participation of other communities) will be held.
Shedeed said that he and the ICJC will work to "ensure that there is no hatred in any mosques, temples, churches, or other houses of worship in Jersey City."
Essex County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said she was "deeply disturbed" by the video and had been in contact with federal, state and local partners about the threat.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker sent a letter to Shedeed, calling the Imam’s comments “abhorrent” and called for him to “publicly and unconditionally denounce Imam Elkasaby’s hateful rhetoric, which was delivered at your house of worship before your congregants.”