A New Jersey imam will reportedly be sent for “retraining” after expressing hope in a sermon last week that all Jews would be killed and previously blaming a deadly Sinai terror attack on Jews.
Last week, Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby gave sermons at the Islamic Center of Jersey City in which he called for “Allah to wreak vengeance” on the “Jewish oppressors” of the Temple Mount and to “kill them down to the very last one,” according to translations provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
That sermon came days after US President Donald Trump defied warnings from the world and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In another sermon in November, Elkasaby also said the notion that the terror attack at the Al-Rawda Mosque in the Sinai Peninsula that killed over 300 worshippers was carried out by the Islamic State was “ridiculous.”
The imam said the massacre “could only have been done by the enemies of Islam – the Jews and their subordinates from among the Muslim rulers,” according to MEMRI translations.
The November 24 attack is thought to have been carried out by the jihadist Islamic State or its affiliates, who have carried out a series of terrorist attacks in the Sinai, in part because the mosque is associated with followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam, and IS targets any who do not follow its version of Islam.
Islamic Center of Jersey City president Ahmed Shedeed announced that Elkasaby would be sitting down with “interfaith scholars” who would “consult with and retrain him,” according to a Thursday statement.
“This is like sending someone to rehab,” he told the Algemeiner Jewish newspaper. “The scholars will help him to learn to deal with these issues.”
For his part, Shedeed has been recognized nationally for his interfaith work. He was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s honored guest at former US president Barack Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address.
Last month, Shedeed’s Islamic Center also hosted a gathering of religious leaders from the Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities.
Shedeed said he had not been present at either of the sermons and had only been made aware of last week’s address days later, when a rabbi friend sent him an email expressing concern, Algemeiner reported.
* Note: This article was updated to remove a political characterization of the Algemeiner.