Houston Imam's sermon called anti-Semitic by Anti-Defamation League

EMBED </>More Videos

A Houston Imam's sermon is causing a lot of criticism and concern. (KTRK)

A sermon by a local Imam, given in the wake of President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, has drawn criticism from the Anti-Defamation League.

The mosque is relatively new and has small congregation. But its Imam, who moved here from Florida, is getting a lot of attention.

In the sermon, the Imam says, "The Muslims will kill the Jews and the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees and the stones and trees will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is. Jew hiding behind me, for and kill him."

The video posted to YouTube and then translated by a third party website has since been removed from YouTube. But the Anti-Defamation League in Houston worries it is dangerous rhetoric.

"When you have an Imam preaching this kind of hatred, that this is incitement to violence against the Jewish community," said ADL Regional Director Dayan Gross.

WATCH: What the Imam said in his controversial sermon
EMBED More News Videos

Local Imam's sermon draws criticism from Anti-Defamation League



The Imam has not responded to our request for an interview, but he did send us a statement, which he has since posted outside his Mosque and reads in part: "Regarding my sermon on Dec. 8th, 2017 it must be understood that I unequivocally affirm and uphold the dignity, sanctity and value of all human life, including - of course - people of the Jewish faith. I must also state in no uncertain terms that I am absolutely and completely opposed to and disgusted by all forms of terrorism, all terrorists, and I oppose anyone who would commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians."

Concerned faith leaders in The Islamic Society of Greater Houston issued a statement against it, as did thirteen prominent Muslim leaders.

"Fringe statements from any community should never direct the course of the wonderful relationship we enjoy with our neighbors in faith such as Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or any other faith tradition," said Shariq Abdul Ghani, of the Minaret Foundation.

In his statement, the Imam indicated he is interested in meeting in person with the Jewish leaders to find a away forward with better understanding.

Imam Al-Rousan released a statement about the sermon:

Regarding my sermon on Dec 8th, 2017 it must be understood that I unequivocally affirm and uphold the dignity, sanctity and value of all human life, including - of course - people of the Jewish faith.

I must also state in no uncertain terms that I am absolutely and completely opposed to and disgusted by all forms of terrorism, all terrorists, and I oppose anyone who would commit, call for, or threaten violence against civilians.
This is why as a person of faith and a religious leader, that I am mortified that an impassioned sermon I gave in light of President Trump's Jerusalem declaration is being seen as a call for the very things I despise.

Toward repairing the damage from this, I hope to establish new and meaningful relationships with my neighbors in the Jewish community. I want to hear their concerns, learn from them and bring our communities closer together. I hope to work with them to alleviate any fears and to combat hatred in all forms, most especially anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

I believe that hatred can only thrive in climates of fear, anger and ignorance. Because of this, I welcome the opportunity to meet with Jewish leaders and other community leaders in the near future.

Most Sincerely,

Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan of the Tajweed Institute


Here is a statement issued by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston:

A local Imam new to Houston made inflammatory remarks about our Jewish community in a deeply disturbing tone. While unaffiliated with this organization, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) feels the need to set the record straight. The ISGH condemns blanket statements against Jews or any other religious community. The ISGH reaffirms Islam's values of pluralism and peace-building.

"In a time of increasing international turmoil, people of faith must stand in solidarity with each other, especially here in Houston, the most diverse city in America. As a city, we must work together and remind the world that Jews, Christians and Muslims are all united by Abraham," state M.J. Khan, President of the ISGH.


Here is a statement by 13 religious leaders in the Muslim community:

Friends and Neighbors,

This past Sunday, several leaders from the Houston Muslim community were informed about a sermon delivered by Imam Raed of Tajweed Institute, which was deeply problematic and does not represent the views or sentiments of the Houston Muslim community.

As a diverse community, we continue to stand together with all of you in rejecting any direct or perceived calls to violence whether it be against Jews, Muslims, Christians, or any other group. Our community leaders continue to work with Interfaith Ministries and other organizations to create new partnerships and opportunities for dialogue.

Senior Muslim leaders have been in direct contact with Imam Raed to discuss his sermon, and he has expressed profound regret and willingness to work with Jewish and interfaith leaders to try and correct the situation. He is aware that his words have caused serious harm to the feelings of many in our city.

We understand that words can create fear and tension and even cause some amongst your congregation to ask the question - are Muslims really our partners, or are they not?

There should be no doubt - we stand with the Jewish community to combat anti-Semitism, and we remain confident that the Jewish community stands with us to combat Islamophobia and hate in all forms. We are and will continue to be, partners in dialogue and understanding, despite fringe statements from any side.

Hate can never win.

Blessings to all as we wrap up the year, and prayers for stronger ties and friendship in 2018.


ABC13's Tom Abrahams spoke with the ADL and will have their reaction on Eyewitness News at 6pm.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Share your comments with us on the ABC13 Facebook Page.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff
Related Topics:
politicsislammuslimsjewishhate crimeHouston