- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2017

A California imam has apologized to the Jewish community for giving a “hurtful” sermon that many interpreted as anti-Semitic.

“To the Jewish community here in Davis and beyond, I say this deeply: I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused,” Ammar Shahin, imam of the Islamic Center of Davis (ICD), said during a press conference Friday.

Mr. Shahin made headlines earlier this month after a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit Middle East press translator, said he called for the annihilation of Jews. He was quoted as saying, “Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. … Count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one.”

The ICD initially defendedMr. Shahin as being taken out of context and called MEMRI “an extremist agenda driven organization,” accusing it of mistranslating the imam. Mr. Shahin also initially defended himself during an interview with a local CBS affiliate, the station reported.

His apology Friday comes after increased pressure from local religious and political groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), CBS reported. Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities reportedly met for four hours behind closed doors to discuss the issue.

“I let my emotions get the best of me and cloud my better judgment,” Mr. Shahin said. “I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable.”

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