A Muslim Imam from Davis recently delivered sermon that has been called hateful and anti-Semitic because of a call for the annihilation of Jews after Israel restricted young Muslims' access to a holy site in Jerusalem. The words from Sheik Ammar Shahin at the Islamic Center of Davis drew international criticism and even a call for a Homeland Security investigation, but Shahin on Friday told a group of Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders that his time in service is spent helping Muslims to understand an Islam free of extremism and hate. "I understand that speech like this can encourage others to do hateful and violent acts," Shahin said. "For this, I truly apologize."
"I understand that speech like this can encourage others to do hateful and violent acts," Shahin said.
Rabbi Seth Castleman accepted Shahin's apology, but he said apologies are only as worthy as the actions that follow. "So I call upon you, I implore you," Castleman added. "To follow those words with actions, as you spoke of, that your sermons, your teachings, your guidance as a spiritual leader, your actions in the world live up to the words that you have spoken."Sheik Ammar Shahin shakes hands with those who listened to his public apology for an anti-Semitic sermon. Photo by Ryan Harris.
Some there to witness the apology said that by itself, it is not enough, but it is a start to the healing process. There are now several reports this afternoon that Israel has lifted all restrictions to enter the mosque.