In January 2011, he joined imams from 20 local mosques in a meeting with FBI officials to discuss their concerns over FBI surveillance and training tactics. In 2009, he was among four dozen local faith leaders to meet with Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Programs Juliette Kayyem.
The May 25 sermons isn’t the first time this year that Walid’s sermons targeted Jews.
When the Quran describes a slaughter of Jews at the hands of Muhammad’s army, it isn’t an indication of anti-Semitism, he said in a Detroit speech in January.
The Jews had it coming.
“Did Muhammad order the killing of Jews?” Walid asked in a Twitter post promoting the video. In response, an Islamist follower wrote, “Yes he did and I agree with it…Well isn’t treason a sentence to death.”
Rather than oppose a hateful perspective, Walid merely corrected the follower and reinforced the anti-Jewish sentiment. Muhammad “didn’t order it. Sa’ad ibn Mu’aadh [one of his followers] ordered that punishment. It was a correct one.”
The reference is to the Battle of the Trench in 627 AD involving Muhammad’s army. “Zionists” use the event to attack the prophet, Walid stated in his speech, by arguing that the Quran and the prophet preached a hatred of Jews.
Jews there entered into an agreement to join with the prophet. But the men “committed treason, [by sitting] with the polytheists against the believers.” For this, all the men of the tribe were beheaded and the women and children were sold into slavery.
“Is this just something that is in Islam for treason? Even for the nations that came before, even in Torat [the Torah] according to what the Jews had at that time, committing treason during a time of war is punishable by death. Because their own book says an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, and a breach for a breach,” he added.
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His endorsement of a mass murder of Jews, with the women and children sold into slavery, and his suggestions that Muslims “shouldn’t be shy” about defending it, reinforce significant concerns about his attitude toward the Jewish community.
Walid’s comments are shocking, said Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum.
“Here is a ranking official in an American organization that compares itself to the NAACP, an organization respected by the mainstream media, political leaders and law enforcement, and its staffer is justifying the Islamic tradition of a cold-blooded massacre of Jews,” Pipes said. “All ancient religions have legacies that are at times problematic, that make people today feel ill at ease; the usual response is, ‘that was then, this is now.’ But Walid’s not doing this. He’s explaining away the report of an ancient atrocity.”
There is no parallel example of other faiths justifying a massacre in their own histories. “This,” Pipes said, “is far outside the mainstream American political life.”
In his speech about the Battle of the Trench, Walid also stated that Muhammad was not anti-Jewish. Instead he “gave Jewish people their rights.” He claimed that the evidence of Jews invoking God’s wrath is mentioned both in the Torah and in the Christian Bible, providing “proof against them and what they have done. So we shouldn’t be shy about that at all, and we shouldn’t be shy about defending our Prophet Muhammad.”
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Nor should Muslims feel uncomfortable with these stories, but should be proud of them because they have Quranic and ‘true’ historical origins. He quoted that Quranic verses in Arabic, saying “Other than those upon whom is wrath. They are the Jews. And those who go astray are the Christians.”
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Walid’s record shows that his sense of justice has often been erratic and extreme. He championed the cause of a Detroit imam who died in a hail of bullets in 2009 after opening fire first on FBI agents who came to arrest him on a criminal complaint. He ignored the imam’s history of advising followers never to surrender peacefully and the series of investigations found the agents acted appropriately. He also compared the use of informants in counter-terrorism sting operations to Jim Crow segregation laws and claimed the FBI has recruited more extremists than al-Qaida.
Walid’s account fits into a mentality that everything Islamic is good and “there’s never any reason to apologize for anything,” Pipes said. And that ignores Islamic imperialism, in which the faith is expanded primarily through the sword. That is exemplified by Muslim attacks on churches in Nigeria, Iran’s obsession with obtaining a nuclear weapon and the 9/11 attacks.
“To Islamists these attacks are not imperialism,” Pipes said, “They bring a higher civilization to the infidels and we should be thankful for this. Such attitudes are not acceptable by today’s standards; making changes to this supremacist mentality is part of the work that Muslims need to do to modernize their religion.”
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