As we reported here, in a recent sermon, California Imam Ammar Shahin seemed to condone the annihilation of Jews.
The sermon focused on the growing tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which has been the site of clashes between Palestinian Muslims and Israelis.
Translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Shahin’s comments called for God to ‘liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews’ and to ‘annihilate them down to the very last one.’
However, after a public outcry over the comments, the Islamic Center of Davis said in a statement that Shahin’s comments were taken out of context, and actually he meant “destroy” not annihilate.
Now Shahin himself has come forward with a new statement, and in fact it’s a full-blown apology.
Per the Daily Mail, in a press conference on Friday, Shahin said: I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused. The last thing I would do is intentionally hurt anyone, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. It is not in my heart, nor does my religion allow it.’
‘Today, I commit to working harder and will join efforts for mutual understanding and building bridges. As a young religious leader, this has humbled me.’
Shahin was flanked by Davis Rabbi Seth Castleman and other interfaith leaders to ease tensions over his comments that some feared could result in violence.
‘I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable,’ Shahin said. ‘I hope to grow and develop as a more worthy leader in the community,’ he added.
Rabbi Castleman thanked Shahin for his apologies and called for action. ‘Apologies are only as worthy as the actions that follow, so I call upon you. I implore you to follow those words with actions,’ Castleman said.
Well, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It might be the first time we’ve ever heard an apology of this nature. Let’s pray it’s not the last.
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of the brutally honest and bitingly funny Do I Need To Slap You?]