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.