Is Muslim cleric in Jersey City preaching terror and hate? Watch video
JERSEY CITY — A imam in New Jersey called Jews in Israel "apes and pigs" during a sermon and asked for Allah's help to kill them "down to the very last one."
Imam Aymen Elkasaby made the pronouncement while delivering a khutbah, or sermon, at the Islamic Center of Jersey City on Friday during the same week President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would move to the country's capital city of Jerusalem, according to a report by the Middle East Forum.
He called it a "religious obligation" for his followers to regain control of the area surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, which is located in Jerusalem's Old City. The mosque is on the Temple Mount, which also is considered holy by Jews and Christians. The site and the Old City are one of the most contested religious controversies in the world.
According to the video, which was posted by Middle East Forum and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, he called Israel the "most cowardly of nations (and the) weakest of all peoples."
"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 the translation.
The Forum's stated mission is to promote American interests in the Middle East and protect western values from Middle Eastern threats. The website and the translating service have been criticized for being biased in favor of Israeli government interests.
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Jersey City has one of the largest populations of Muslims in the state.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump said he saw thousands of Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Trump even tweeted an excerpt from a 2001 Washington Post story reporting on rooftop parties. The claim was debunked by many sources.
Messages to the Islamic Center of New Jersey were not immediately returned Thursday.
A city spokeswoman said Thursday that there "is no place for intolerance among the hundreds of thousands of diverse residents who call Jersey City home."
"Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and as an administration we have held our values of inclusion, acceptance and celebration of differences above all else," Hannah Peterson said in a statement sent to New Jersey 101.5. "We know that our residents share these values, and as a city, we stand together against instances of hate and division, whether they occur on a federal level or a local one."