A traditionally attired imam addresses a standing-room-only audience at a Flatbush synagogue. He decries Islamic terrorism and describes his founding of an organization to change the mindset of radical Muslims.
It wasn’t imaginary last Thursday.
Imam Mohamad Tawhidi of Australia, author of “The Tragedy of Islam: Admissions of a Muslim Cleric,” came to The Avenue N Jewish Center to tell “certain truths to anyone who would listen.”
One of the truths, said Tawhidi — who was hosted by former Assemblyman Dov Hikind — is that terrorist groups like Hamas and ISIS distort the Koran to further their violent agenda.
There are indeed references in the Koran to violence against Jews and other non-Muslims, Tawhidi pointed out, but he said these were in the context of ancient tribal warfare and could not be applied today.
“When the people of truth remain silent, the people of falsehood think they’re right,” he said, citing a proverb.
Tawhidi — who Hikind said was a scholar of the Koran and other Islamic texts —- stressed that mass media, particularly the Internet, has multiplied exponentially the influence of radical Muslims. “If a cleric sitting in Mecca says ‘Kill Jews,’ someone in Jerusalem or the U.S. will bomb a synagogue, ” he said.
Tawhidi refuted radical Muslims’ claim that the land of Israel belongs to them. “There is no evidence that Islam is tied to Jerusalem or Israel, ” he said.
He added that “no one supports Hamas more than the corrupt U.N., which gives a platform and strength to them and other groups.”
Tawhidi lamented that many governments and much of the media “regard radical Muslims as the voice of Islam. They are not.”
He cited in particular Muslim black activist Louis Farrakhan, widely regarded as ani-Semitic. ” I have never seen a more delusional person,” Tawhidi said.
Hikind , who also addressed the gathering, stressed that the rise in ant-Semitic attacks and incidents of late can be squarely blamed on both the radical right and the radical left. White supremacists, he said, have gained a loud voice on the Internet, and “the left is out of control.” He cited as examples the rhetoric of recently elected U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)– who has voiced classic anti-Semitic canards about Jewish money and influence and so-called dual loyalty — and The New York Times, which he said continually slants headlines and coverage toward Palestnians and against Israel, and which recently ran a cartoon in its international edition of a yarmulke-wearing President Trump being led by a dachshund bearing the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After retiring from the assemby after 36 years, Hikind founded the group, Americans Against Anti-Semitism. Underscoring Hikind’s warning about a rise in anti-Semitism, were reports two days after the conference that on late Saturday night in Boro Park, a group of four adults in a car reportedly sped by two 15-year-olds, who were walking on the sidewalk, yelling “Al Akbar!” ( the usual cry of Muslim terrorists) and “Adolf Hitler did great things!”
This was just the latest of such incidents — many of them much more serious — reported recently in the U.S. and internationally, Hikind said. “What is going on out there?” he commented Sunday to a WCBS radio reporter.
Tawhidi said he is forming an “umbrella organization” to bring together people who want to ease the tension between Muslims and Jews.
For more information about Hikind’s and Tawhidi’s organizations, contact [email protected]