May 7, 2014
A Muslim religious leader who helped spearhead a push to get the National September 11 Memorial Museum to censor references to Islam in a short film about al-Qaida has said Jews “killed the Prophets and Messengers” and are a “cancer … in every generation as they get in power.”
ElazabawyÂ wrote a letterÂ to museum leadership last month, complaining that the 6-minute film about al-Qaida’s rise “would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum,” if it is not changed. “Unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”
He also joined in a follow-up complaint sent to museum Director Alice Greenwald on behalf of New York Disaster Interfaith Services’ advisory group. Critics have taken issue with the film’s references to “jihad” and the hijackers’ Islamist ideology. “If generalized labels are needed, we suggest using specific terms such as “Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism,” the letter from the Interfaith Services group said.
Similar complaints wereÂ issued by Islamist groupsÂ such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
The museum is scheduled to open in two weeks. Thus far, officials have indicated they do not plan to make changes to the film.
Elazabawy’s demands for interfaith sensitivity were absent during the 2008 sermon, which came during Israel’sÂ Operation Cast LeadÂ incursion into Gaza aimed at curbing Hamas rocket-fire toward civilian communities in Israel. He emphasized a series of Quranic verses depicting Jews as mischievous and corrupt.
“And after the mischievement (sic), they will seem arrogant,” Elazabawy explained after reading one verse. “‘We are the powerful. We are the most powerful people. We could defeat whomever we need.’ Arrogance actually came from the shaytan [devil] all the time.”
Later, he seemed to blame Jews for the war in Afghanistan.
“What they did, if you remember my brothers, the war in Afghanistan, behind that, the war is exactly the state of violence. They went in that land after Allah give the victory for the people of Afghanistan against Russia, they came because they don’t want anybody to have power, except them … and they bring all their allies to Iraq to finish Iraq, return Iraq, 100 years back. Why? Because Iraq used to be number four in power. They don’t want anybody in power. And they use the hypocrites of the Muslims to help them, and the Muslim follow them, because they control the money, they control the weapons, they do everything.”
Jews were spreading mischief in Egypt, Sudan and Somalia, he said.
“They are cancer in everywhere, in every generation as they get in power. People turn their face, and they know they are tyrants, they know they are oppressors. They know that they kill the children of Muslim[s] all the time. But everybody permits it because they controlling the money and the position in the whole entire world.”
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