Montreal, February 20th
PRESS RELEASE 2017 To be published immediately
Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration reiterates its strong condemnation of any hate speech regardless of the target community, and regardless of the speaker. This condemnation includes any speech targeting the Jewish community, including the clumsy and unacceptable phrasing used in the videos of a sermon held in 2014 at the Center by a substitute imam.
We noticed, at that time back in August 2014, that the substitute imam's intention was not to call for the destruction of Jewish individuals or the elimination of this community. His wording was, however, tainted by an abusive generalization, and we consider that a serious mistake.
We met with the substitute imam immediately after he gave these sermons to request that he clarify his speech and correct his mistakes. Nothing in the Muslim religion allows for incitement of destruction of a community or individuals; nothing permits or allows attacks on the sacredness of human life. The substitute imam, as a religious cleric, knew this rightly and immediately recognized both his error and the dangerous phrasing that could be misinterpreted by anyone listening to his speech.
As indicated in our previous press release, the videos that contain this controversial speech were hosted and shared on a YouTube channel that the Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration does not control. The person who filmed and shared these videos on his YouTube platform was granted permission to film as he does in other Centers. The administration was not involved in managing this YouTube channel or in the processing of the videos. This explains our error of not having thought to ask the withdrawal of the videos.
Finally, we reaffirm that Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and hate speech, and we would like to offer our sincere apologies to anyone who legitimately felt offended by the supplications made in these videos.
Al-Andalous Islamic Center administration
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