The Hadith Controversy at an Anaheim Mosque

by Gary Fouse

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI TV) has posted a clip of a YouTube video that was posted on February 1, 2023, by the Al Ansar Mosque in Anaheim, California. In this clip, the head imam, Moustafa Kamel, recites the infamous Islamic hadith that goes like this: “……..On the Day of Judgment, the Jews will hide behind trees and rocks, and the trees and rocks will call out to the Muslim, “O Muslim: There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him”. This video is just hitting the internet. As yet, there is no comment on this that I know of by the mosque or Kamel himself. Is it possible that he was actually reciting the hadith in order to condemn it, and he was the victim of selective editing by MEMRI? Not likely. It should be noted that in addition to the hadith, Kemal says other uncomplimentary things about Jews including a statement that “they will be annihilated”. (As a resident of Orange County, I was heretofore unaware of Imam Kemal and his mosque.)

MEMRI TV is a pro-Israel site based in Washington DC that exposes Jew-hatred and expressions of Jew-hatred as voiced by various Muslim leaders, largely Muslim clerics, using the media. Kamel is far from the only one who has recited this hadith in his sermons. It has been recited in mosques all over the world including in the US and Canada, not to mention Europe

The hadith in Islam are the reported sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammad as passed down from generation to generation beginning with the original witness. It should be noted that many Islamic scholars perform research on these hadith to determine which are historically reliable and which are not. This particular hadith has seemingly passed the test because it is accepted in the major schools of Islamic thought.  In the coming days, Kemal may have to apologize, and the mosque might disassociate itself from some of the things he said. However, I would be very surprised if Kemal or the mosque distance themselves from the hadith itself.

In December 2009, I attended an interfaith event at Chapman University in Orange Country, and a question was posed to Mohammed Zakyi Ibrahim, the Muslim imam speaking on behalf of Islam regarding the hadith. In his vague response, he raised the issue of hadith being checked for validity and reliability by Islamic scholars but didn’t add anything in terms of his own personal opinion.  He seemed to imply that the hadith might not be reliable.

It comes down to this: This hadith is firmly established within Islamic historiography. It is clear and cannot be explained away as something misunderstood, twisted, or benign. Hamas itself, a terrorist organization, which currently runs Gaza, quotes it in its covenant. Western Islamic leader who portrays himself or herself as a moderate, bridgebuilder, etc., and who uses this ditty is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


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