Montreal imam probed for viral call to ‘destroy accursed Jews’

Speech, given in 2014, appears online three weeks after Quebec mosque attack when Jews offered support to Muslims

Imam Sayed al-Ghitawi speaking at the al-Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal in 2014 (Screen capture: YouTube)
Imam Sayed al-Ghitawi speaking at the al-Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal in 2014 (Screen capture: YouTube)

MONTREAL — Montreal police are investigating a three-year-old video that shows an imam at a local mosque calling on Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews” and to kill them “one by one.”

The video of Sayed al-Ghitawi speaking, which went viral after being released February 8 onto social media, appeared less than three weeks after six Muslim worshipers were gunned down in a Quebec City mosque and Jews across Canada rallied behind Muslims in a gesture of support and solidarity.

“We condemn these explicit calls for the death of Jews in the strongest possible terms,” Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told The Canadian Jewish News.

“We believe these declarations may be a violation of the criminal code,” he said.

At the end of a sermon in 2014, al-Ghitawi said “O Allah, destroy the accursed Jews, O Allah, show us the black day you inflict on them, O Allah, show us the wonders of your power and ability inflicted on them, O the most Merciful, Shook the ground beneath their feet, O Allah, kill them one by one, O Lord, don’t leave any of them [alive]”

The mosque that hosted the imam was the Al-Andalous Islamic Centre in the Montreal borough of St. Laurent, according to reports.

A spokesman for the center said the person speaking in the video was a “volunteer” imam.

The center also issued a “clarification” that the imam’s comments were made during Israel’s 2014 military incursion into Gaza.

But, if anything, “the attack on the Quebec City mosque should serve as a reminder to all that there can be no ‘context’ in our democracy that legitimizes calls for violence against any identifiable community,” Poupko said.

B’nai Brith Canada filed a complaint with Montreal police on February 8 and created an online petition for the Canadian Parliament to enforce existing hate crime laws.

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