'Imam of Peace': Antisemitism in the U.S. is a 'threat to national security'

"Raise your voices against hatred," Tawhidi said on a trip earlier this year to Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi death camp.

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June 22, 2019 19:27
3 minute read.
A MAN wearing a kippa waits for the start of a demonstration against antisemitism at Berlin’s Brande

A MAN wearing a kippa waits for the start of a demonstration against antisemitism at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 2014. (photo credit: THOMAS PETER/REUTERS)

 
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The Iranian-born Australian Shi’ite imam and founding president of the Islamic Association of South Australia, Mohamad Tawhidi, also affectionately known as the “Imam of Peace,” condemned antisemitism and the rising attacks of Jewish people in America in a video on Twitter earlier this week.

The imam in his statement presented the idea that rising antisemitism has a direct impact on national security, and that it’s not only an issue of hate. He did this by pointing to the notion that these antisemitic acts incite other individuals to go out and emulate these actions. Some of the incitement alluded to by Tawhidi supposedly came from members of the US Congress.

“When you have groups of people finding the perfect platform to go out and attack another minority, and that being the Jewish people – while everyone watches and does absolutely nothing or they do very little – this creates instability within our communities, it brings violence and also threats to other people,” Tawhidi said.

He then went on to give instructions on what to do for those who see antisemitism taking place within their communities.

“What I do and encourage everyone else to do is whenever you see antisemitism, make sure you condemn it – you write to your politician, ask them why they are not doing enough to combat this issue of rising hate and rising spikes in attacks on Jewish people... Only because they dress differently,” he said.

Tawhidi concluded his statement by saying that there is “a group of people” – some members of Congress mentioned above – who want to bring the current conflicts in the Middle East to the US.

The “Imam of Peace” has on many occasions condemned antisemitism, as well as American politicians for antisemitic actions and stances they hold as members of Congress. He called out Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for their lack of condemnation of Hamas’s actions early in May, when the Gazan government fired a barrage of rockets into Israel over a single weekend.

“It is very sad to see what is happening within in the American government,” he said. “People like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, absolute frauds and Islamists, promoting hatred against the Jewish people.”

“Ilhan does not believe that the Jewish people or the Jewish nation has the right to exist,” Tawhidi continued. “Shame on her and shame on those who voted for her and are staying silent. We must do everything that we can to promote peace, and make sure that the American government does not allow these people a platform.”

“Raise your voices against hatred,” Tawhidi said on a trip earlier this year to Auschwitz.

Wearing a black T-shirt with the words #WeRemember printed in white, Tawhidi proudly posted about being the first Shi’ite imam “to pay his respects at Auschwitz.”

The photograph, along with several other posts and a video from his time at the concentration camp’s museum on Sunday, went viral on social media platforms.

In a video, which he took while standing outside the main entrance to Auschwitz, Tawhidi said that he was visiting the site “to take a stand against antisemitism.”

Indoctrinated and raised to hate Jews, Tawhidi said, “[I] never thought that I would ever come here to pay my respects. I was someone who hated the Jews and the Jewish nation – it’s time we woke up and became human beings for real.”

During his video address, Tawhidi also criticized Congress, saying that “it should be focusing on serving the American people. It should not be a platform for Islamist members of the American government to preach their hate against the Jewish people.”

Ilanit Chernick contributed to this report.

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