The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem: An Extremist Megaphone

(Wall Street Journal) Steven Stalinsky - Over the past two years, in President Obama's efforts to counter violent extremism, he has emphasized the responsibility of Muslim "scholars and clerics" to help ensure that mosques are not used as a platform to preach Islamist extremism. Few Westerners are aware of the content of the sermons, lectures and lessons offered at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. On Jan. 16, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Abu Taqi Al-Din Al-Dari called in a sermon for jihad against the West and Europe, and for the burgeoning Islamic State to "conquer Rome, Washington and Paris." Many of these sermons are posted on the mosque's two official YouTube channels and have been translated from the Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute. What we have found at Al Aqsa is a steady stream of calls for jihad and martyrdom, venomous attacks on Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, and praise for al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other jihadist groups. Calls for the destruction of the U.S. and the West, including promises that Islam will take over the world, are other common themes. On July 24, 2015, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dweik said: "The caliphate will come to be, and the nuclear bomb will be produced," adding that this future Islamic caliphate will "fight the U.S. and will bring it down" and "eliminate the West in its entirety." On Oct. 27 at Al Aqsa, Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi called for the annihilation of the Jews all over the world. On May 29, Sheikh Al-Maghrabi explained why Jews were killed in the Holocaust. "On Passover," the Jews "would knead the dough for these matzos with children's blood. When this was discovered, the Israelites were expelled across Europe." If incendiary sermons such as those at Al Aqsa were being delivered in any Western city, authorities would not tolerate them. The writer is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

2016-02-03 00:00:00

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