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New York imam reinterprets Islamic tradition calling for war with Jews


A New York-based imam made a rare attempt at reinterpreting a selection of Islamic texts that make harsh statements against Jews.

“This hadith is very strange, and we should reexamine it, because it leads Islam to disaster. It says: ‘Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and then the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’” said Imam Tareq Yousef al-Masri, from the Oulel-Albab mosque in Brooklyn.

A video of the speech was first put online earlier this year, but only discovered and published by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) on Sunday.

The hadith – an Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad – is well known and also appears in the Hamas covenant published in 1988.

Masri questions the validity of the hadith and its chain of transmission from the prophet.

He argued, “We have no religious dispute with anyone” as the Koran says: “And among the people of Moses is a community which guides by truth and by it establishes justice.”

“If a hadith is narrated by 40 or 50 of the prophet’s companions, we may deem it a reliable hadith. But if only one or two of the prophet’s companions narrate it, we should not take it at face value and base our entire relationship with the Jews upon it,” he explained.

“We cannot say that all Jews are bad. The Jews here, in America, are a million times more honorable than the Muslims,” said the imam according to the report.


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