The Muslim American Society issued a statement late Friday on controversial videos from an April 17 Ummah Day celebration posted to Facebook by the MAS Philadelphia chapter that feature children in Palestinian scarves singing and reciting poetry in Arabic that calls for liberating Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa mosque from the “Zionists” and chopping their heads off. Video clips with English translations were released this week by the Investigative Project and MEMRI. MAS says the songs were not “properly vetted” and that the children are “remorseful”–but then attacks Israel and blames white supremacists and neo-Nazis for the current “era” of hate and violence.
MAS Statement on Philadelphia Video
(Washington, D.C.) May 3rd, 2019 – The Muslim American Society rejects a statement made at an event held in April at a local community center in Philadelphia. The center celebrated “Ummah Day” where children sang songs from their cultural traditions. While we celebrate the coming together of different cultures and languages, not all songs were properly vetted. This was an unintended mistake and an oversight in which the center and the students are remorseful. MAS will conduct an internal investigation to ensure this does not occur again.
As a faith-based organization dedicated to moving people to strive for God-consciousness and a just and virtuous society, we affirm our long standing position on our shared values of humanity. We stand resolutely in our condemnation of hate, bigotry, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and all the illnesses of hate that plague our society.
While there are legitimate criticisms of the occupation of Palestine and we must hold the Israeli government accountable for the human rights violations of Palestinians, we urge all people to do so in a constructive manner.
In an era where hate has been emboldened by continuous acts of violence by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, it is our responsibility to combat that hate with education and community building. MAS is a national organization with many autonomous chapters. MAS is dedicated to continuous community engagement and education that will bring us closer to a more just and virtuous society.
The mission of the Muslim American Society is to move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty, and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity. We organize, advocate and build leadership in community to build a just and equitable world.
Video released Friday by the non-partisan research group MEMRI, which translated the Arabic into English, taken from a Facebook posting by the Muslim American Society Philadelphia chapter last month shows a group of Muslim children in Palestinian scarves performing at a Ummah Day celebration where they sang a pro-Palestine and recited a poem calling for the liberation of Jerusalem and its Al Aqsa mosque that says “We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque… We will subject them to eternal torture.”
(UPDATE: A different video clip mentions “Zionists”) Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, so the heads they would be chopping off would belong to Jews.
— InvestigativeProject (@TheIPT) May 1, 2019
Screen images with translations. In one image, children in the back row are seen lifting Korans high over their heads during the song.
MEMRI’s description of the video with translation:
On April 22, 2019, the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia (MAS Philly) uploaded a video of an “Ummah Day” celebration to its Facebook page in which young children wearing Palestinian scarves sang: “Glorious steeds call us and lead us [to] the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The blood of martyrs protects us… Take us, oh ships… until we reach our shores and crush the treacherous ones… Flow, oh rivers of martyrs!” A young girl read a poem praising martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Palestine, and she asked: “Will [Jerusalem] be a hotbed for cowards?” Another young girl read: “We will defend [Palestine] with our bodies… We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque… We will subject them to eternal torture.”
MAS Philly belongs to the Muslim American Society (MAS), which has 42 chapters in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. MAS’ website says that its mission is to “move people to strive for God-consciousness, liberty and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity,” and that its vision is “a virtuous and just American society.”