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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > The day the Mufti came to town: Ikrima Sabri - patron of child suicide bombers tours the United States

The day the Mufti came to town: Ikrima Sabri - patron of child suicide bombers tours the United States

April 16, 2006

The Day the Mufti Came to Town

By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 13, 2006

"Death to America" can be heard loud and clear throughout the streets of Tehran. It can also be frequently heard out of the mouth of one Ikrima Sa'id Sabri, the Grand Mufti of the Al-Aqsa Mosque located in Jerusalem. Recently, Sabri had the opportunity to visit the land that he hates so much. But why would he want to, and why would we let him?

Sabri is the sixth man to hold the title of Mufti of Jerusalem, having been appointed to the position by Yasser Arafat in October of 1994. He is considered the highest official of religious law in the area.

The first "Grand Mufti" of Jerusalem (and third Mufti) was Haj Amin Al-Husseini. In 1921, at the time of his appointment, Amin Al-Husseini had been considered a violent extremist. Later, he would be declared a war criminal in Nuremburg for his actions with regard to the Nazis. In his memoirs, he wrote, "Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: ‘The Jews are yours.'"

Like Amin Al-Husseini, Ikrima Sa'id Sabri's hatred of Jews is prolific. About them, he has stated, "I enter the mosque of Al-Aqsa with my head up and at the same time I am filled with rage toward the Jews. I have never greeted a Jew when I came near one. I never will. They cannot even dream that I will. The Jews do not dare to bother me, because they are the most cowardly creatures Allah has ever created..."

Sabri's contempt is not just limited to Jews, though. He also has vitriolic feelings towards the United States. On September 12, 1997, in a sermon he delivered, Sabri stated, "Oh Allah, destroy America, her agents and her allies! Cast them into their own traps, and cover the White House with black!" And less than a month before 9/11, on August 24, 2001, he stated, "Allah, destroy the U.S., its helpers and its agents. Allah, destroy Britain, its helpers and its agents. Allah, prepare those who will unite the Muslims and march in the steps of Saladin. Allah, we ask you for forgiveness before death, and mercy and forgiveness after death. Allah, grant victory to Islam and the Muslims..."

With his violent posture towards America, one would imagine that Sabri would want to stay as far from our shores as humanly possible. But that is just not the case. Sabri sightings have occurred in the United States, as recently as last month.

On March 4, 2006, Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (MILA) sponsored ‘An Afternoon with Shaikh Ekrima Sabry.' The event, which was held at the Colorodo Muslim Society (a.k.a. Masjid Abu Bakr), drew a response from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Bruce DeBoskey, the Regional Director of the ADL's Mountain States Region, in citing Sabri's support for such things as suicide bombings, stated, "This is a man who has a history of spewing vicious anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric. We would think the Colorado Muslim community would seek to distance themselves from this man's hateful rhetoric."

However, the Colorado Muslim Society has a history of anti-Jewish sentiment. In September of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the mosque's spiritual leader, Ahmad Nabhan, in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News, referred to Israel as "the first enemy."

Colorado was not the only stop in the Sabri U.S. tour. In fact, he spent time in at least six other states – one of which was Louisiana. On March 7, 2006, Sabri was the guest speaker at the American Legion Hall, located next door to the future home of the new Islamic Center of Baton Rouge (ICBR). A large and colorful flyer for the event is found on ICBR's website. ICBR's new center was a major subject in the case against KindHearts, an Islamic "charity" recently shut down by the United States government for financing terrorism abroad.

In October of 2003, $500,000 was raised at ICBR during a KindHearts fundraiser for the new center. Yet, according to the Treasury Department, only a small part of the money went towards the building of a new Baton Rouge mosque; the vast majority of it went to Hamas. In addition, in August of 2005, ICBR acted as the Command Center for KindHearts' ‘Hurricane Katrina Emergency Relief.'

The sponsor for Sabri's Baton Rouge speech, as stated on the ICBR flyer, was the Palestinian American Congress (PAC), the American arm of the Palestinian National Authority. [The contact on the flyer for the event is PAC and ICBR dual board member, Emad Nofal.] In the past, the PAC has referred to Yasser Arafat as a "national hero;" has celebrated the anniversary of the violent Palestinian Intifada; has condemned the Israeli executions of Hamas terrorist leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi; and has commemorated "Al-Nakbah" (The Catastrophe), the severely offensive Arabic expression for the creation of the state of Israel. [On April 29th, at its 7th Annual Convention, the PAC will continue its hatefest with a keynote speech by newly appointed Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S., Afif Safieh, who has described the Intifada as "our peace strategy" and has labeled Capitol Hill "Israeli-occupied territory."]

Grand Mufti Sabri has traveled to the U.S. previously. In July of 2003, he showed up to endorse the building of the Salah Tawfik Elementary School (STEMS), in Sunrise, Florida. In a photo that was found on the school's site, Sabri is pictured holding the plans to the school, along with and next to Zulfiqar Ali Shah, who was, at the time, Principal of the School of Islamic Studies of Broward (which is incorporated under the same address as STEMS' location). In addition to his connection to the school, Shah is the former President (Ameer) of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Pakistan (Jamaat-e-Islami), and the South Asia Director for KindHearts.

For Sabri to be near a children's school is a major problem. In an October 2000 interview with Egypt's weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, Sabri discussed his fascination with child martyrdom. He stated, "There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination. The younger the martyr - the greater and the more I respect him… They [mothers of martyrs] willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom. It is a great display of the power of belief. The mother is participating in the great reward of the Jihad to liberate Al-Aqsa."

By allowing sadistic hatemongers, such as Ikrima Sabri, into the country, the United States sends a mixed message to the world. It says that, while the nation is engaged in a far-reaching war on terror, it will tolerate those that spread the violent ideologies which ignite the enemy. This includes the terrorist support network within our borders. In the Denver event alone, over 400 people attended, standing room only.

Freedom of Speech is not a subject with infinite boundaries; it has its limits. One of those limits is screaming "fire" in a crowded theatre. Certainly, another of those limits should be shouting "jihad" in a crowded mosque. What a great – but foolish – country is America that she can allow a monster, who has cursed and declared war on her and her friends around the globe, to walk upon her shores.

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