Protesters Call for the Ouster of the Imam

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A number of people from the Jewish community gathered at Farmer’s Market on Wednesday to hold what they called a “peaceful” protest regarding the Iman from the Islamic Center of Davis.

The group believes that the apology by the Imam was insincere, arguing that “he didn’t repudiate his words in any way.”

The Imam stated, “To the Jewish community here in Davis and beyond, I say this deeply: I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”

“Essentially he said: Sorry you were hurt. But I still believe every word I said,” the group stated.

The group sent out the following announcement via email that the Vanguard received:

As most of you know by now, Imam Ammar Shahin of the Davis Islamic Center preached a hate-filled sermon  on Friday July 14 and also on July 21, in which he (quoting a Hadith) called for the annihilation of Jews. “Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands,” asking for his followers to participate in the slaughter. “Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them”… and referred to “the filth of the Jews.”
Shahin’s  supporters initially doubled-down and made excuses for the translated sermon,  an “apology” was later issued, and some elected officials and Muslim and Jewish leaders held a  closed joint  press conference in which speeches were made, including an “apology” by Imam Shahin  for the “pain” he caused. At no time was there any retraction or denunciation of the words quoted from the Hadith (the same words that are in the Hamas Charter which call for the murder of our Jewish friends, families and children). Neither was there any call for the Imam to be fired. Equally disturbing is the fact that no member of the DIC’s board of directors, nor its congregants,  have come out asking for his resignation.
No Christian, Jewish, or Muslim clergy who preaches murder of any minority group should be tolerated. Such speech leads to violence and murder. It simply has no place in a civilized society.
We need to do more to bring awareness to our community of this despicable and dangerous man. Imam Shahin has NOT said he was wrong to have made his statements (just that he was sorry for causing “pain”—as if he did not know beforehand).  Nor has he said he will stop preaching such vile ideas!

The Vanguard has learned that the rally was organized by a Bet Haverim congregant.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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10 thoughts on “Protesters Call for the Ouster of the Imam”

  1. Paul Thober

    Why was peaceful put in quotes? Was this protest not peaceful?

    I agree with what the protesters are saying. As another commenter has said, if this had been a clergy person at any other house of worship calling for the destruction of people of another faith or ethnicity and labeling those people “filthy” that person would be repudiated by their congregation and gone in a heartbeat. Healing can commence when amends are made. “Sorry” doesn’t get it.

    1. Keith O

       Why was peaceful put in quotes? Was this protest not peaceful?

      Good point, I missed that earlier.

      I agree with your other points too.  If this had been any other house of worship our local liberals would be calling for much more to be done.  As it was it took them awhile to come around on this as some looked for other scape goats.


  2. Victor Styrsky

    Excellent article Mr. Greenwald with a couple of exceptions: At least 2/3 of the people protesting were not Jewish by faith or ethnicity – they were Gentiles and Christian. At least 4 different Christian Churches had members at the protest who deeply appreciate the Jewish people and nation of Israel – the only pluralistic democracy in the entire Middle East. It also happens to be the only nation in the Middle East where Christianity is growing, safe, and protected. The Imam needs to resign or be fired and I am outrage that it has not happened.

    At one point in the demonstration, a beautiful new car stopped right in front of three of us, the tinted window slowly rolled down and a dark skinned young man pointed his finger at us and shouted:


    If only there were more within the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faith community that would speak out. It was only one generation ago a madman called for the destruction of the Jewish people – and over 60,000,000 people died.
    You would have thought we had learned.

    Come on Davis – be better and wake up.

    1. Alan Miller

       The Imam needs to resign or be fired and I am outrage that it has not happened.

      I am not hurt nor needing to heal — the incident just tells us what is.  A few people of faith and community leadership standing around for a photo op doesn’t change a call for genocide.

      I do not understand the above call to the Imam to resign.  It isn’t up to us to call for his resignation, it’s up to the people in his faith and at his place of worship.  No business of mine.  His words are a reflection of something deeper, of the beliefs of at least some his followers, or he wouldn’t still be there, wouldn’t be allowed to preach the same message a second week.   The followers are the issue.

      I believe most Muslims around these parts do not harbor violence against all Jews in their hearts, in fact, a lot of them really like us!  I understand the anger of some because of what they and their relatives have suffered.  But no anger justifies calls of genocide.  It’s not the “most” segment that are of concern.  What is of concern is those that were OK with the words being said in a sermon; they don’t necessarily go away if the Imam is forced out, and they aren’t likely to be the ones singing Kumbaya with Jews and Christians in a park, seeking “healing”.

      Awareness is much more important that healing.

      I say keep the Imam!

      But really, that isn’t my business . . .

  3. Curtis Floyd

    The reason the imam can’t retract his words is that they are the words of the Prophet.  Or close enough.

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

    How can a mere imam repudiate the words of the Prophet himself?  It’s blasphemy.  He would lose any and all credibility as a preacher.  He might even become a target of violence.

    The Davis mosque (just a couple blocks from my house) is in all probability NOT a hotbed of extremism, but a warm bed of intolerance.  Is it useful to put the mosque leaders in the pillory and force them to fire this imam? Probably not.  The real problem: bad religion.  Worldwide.  Once you believe in the invisible sky daddy, it’s difficult to refute nonsensical, hateful teachings, as you yourself are wrapped up too deeply in your own nonsense.

    My advice:  move along, nothing to see here.  But shed your own nonsensical religion baggage (if you’re carrying that).  You can’t reject their hateful sky daddy if you can’t reject your own.

    It’s not that hard. You don’t believe in Zeus do you?




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