Muslim cleric’s hate sermon reviewed by NJ prosecutor
JERSEY CITY —The imam accused of calling for the death of Jews in Israel during a sermon will be "retrained," according to a Jewish newspaper.
The county's top prosecutor, meanwhile, joined U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in describing the cleric's message as disturbing.
The Algemeiner reported Thursday that Islamic Center of Jersey City president Ahmed Shedeed said Imam Aymen Elkasaby would be meeting with "interfaith scholars" as a result of his fiery sermon in which he inveighed against Israel.
A translating service that has been described as having a pro-Israeli bias said Shedeed's sermon called Jews in Israel “apes and pigs” and asked for Allah’s help to kill them “down to the very last one.”
“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 says, according to a translation psoted by the Middle East Forum.
He made the comments last Friday, just days after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would move to the country’s capital city of Jerusalem.
Shedeed told the Algemeiner that he would be going through a kind of rehab to help him deal with his issues. He defended Elksaby and said he spoke "in the heat of the moment."
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Jim Seus, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' New Jersey chapter, said his group "welcomes the decision to engage the imam in retraining." However, he said the comments were misunderstood.
"CAIR has a long history of challenging anti-Semitism in all its forms. We believe that statements expressed in this sermon are inappropriate and should be condemned."
However, he disagrees with the translation of the imam's comments.
"He's calling for God to kill the oppressors. It certainly did not say all Jews."
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez told New Jersey 101.5 she is looking into the comments.
“My office has been made aware of the message delivered by Imam Elkasaby last Friday in Jersey City. I am deeply disturbed by this video and we have been communicating with our federal, state and local partners on this matter.”
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.”
Shadeed did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment Friday.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.