A New Jersey Imam is to sit down with interfaith scholars and who will "retrain him" after two sermons in which he blamed Jewish people for Isis attacks and made anti-semitic remarks. In a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), sermons by Imam Aymen Elkasaby made at the Islamic Centre of New Jersey were translated from their original Arabic, prompting the response from the centre's president.
During a sermon on 24 November, Elkasaby questioned the attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt's Sinai province in which suspected Isis militants killed over 300 people. Elkasaby said it was "ridiculous" that Isis carried out the attack: "For the sake of whose interests are Muslims being killed in Sinai and all over the Islamic world?" he asked.
"This could have only been done by the enemies of Islam, the Jews and their subordinates from among the Muslim rulers," the MEMRI translation shows Elkasaby saying before adding: "Oh Allah, count the oppressors one by one, and kill them down to the very last one. Do not leave a single one upon the earth!"
In a second sermon focused on the decision by US President Donald Trump's adminstration to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Elkasaby calls Jews "apes and pigs".
"So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains prisoner in the hands of the Jews, this nation will remain humiliated," Elkasaby says. "So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains under the feet of the apes and pigs, this nation will remain humiliated."
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem and considered one of the holiest sites in Islam.
President of the Islamic Center of New Jersey, Ahmed Shedeed, who has previously been recognised for his work on religious tolerance, said in a statement quoted by the Times of Israel that Elkasaby would be speaking with interfaith scholars who could "consult with and retrain him", he added they would "help him to learn to deal with these issues."