DAVIS (CBS13) – The Davis Imam whose sermon created international controversy and allegations of anti-Semitism is speaking out for the first time.
Imam Ammar Shahin says he never called for violence between any groups of people.
“My whole talk was directed to spirituality, to bringing people back to their religion, to speak about even the oppressed ones who at the time of pharaoh, and how they came back to their religion,” Shahin said.
His sermon posted online by a group called Middle East Media Research Institute included a translation into English which reads “an “annihilation” of Jewish people.
The group’s viral post has received hundreds of thousands of views.
“It’s very sad to hear that people are taking your words and they are twisting it around, but I know there are people who are out there just waiting for that to make the news,” Shahin said.
The Davis police are doing extra patrols at the mosque where Shahin preaches.
The rabbi of the Davis Chabad responded to Shahin’s interview by saying the important message is there “is no place for violence against any people.”