DAVIS (CBS13) – The Davis Imam at the center of a controversy after a translation of a sermon he delivered was posted online has offered a public apology.
In a joint press conference Friday morning with Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in Davis, Amar Shahin says he’s deeply sorry for the things he said.
The Imam’s soft spoken apology came after a four hour long closed door sit down with Jewish groups trying to bridge the divide.
“I let my emotions get the best of me and cloud my better judgement. I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable,” Shahin said. “To the Jewish community here in Davis and beyond I say this deeply – I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”
Last week, Shahin gave a fiery sermon calling for his higher power to annihilate Jews down to the very last one – and asked his congregants to take part in the slaughter. The sermon was delivered mostly in Arabic, but a translation was posted online and quickly went viral.
The Council on American Islamic relations joined synagogues in calling it hate speech. But the speech prompted both sides to sit down together where it all happened, the Islamic Center of Davis.
In his statement, the Imam said he let his passion get the best of him.
“He gained understanding when he talked to us. When you’re in a room with someone for four five hours, you develop a relationship with them,” said Bruce Pomer of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
But around the world, Jewish groups have asked Homeland Security and the US Attorney’s Office to investigate.
For now, there’s been no comment from either.