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ADL Urges Controversial Muslim Leader to Repudiate Hateful Comments

Denver, CO, March 3, 2006 ... The Anti-Defamation League’s Mountain States Regional Office expressed serious concerns about the scheduled appearance Saturday March 4 in Denver of Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Head Imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

“Dr. Sabri has a long history of anti-American and anti-Semitic statements,” said Bruce H. DeBoskey, ADL’s Regional Director.  “We call upon him to repudiate his hateful statements about Jews and Americans, and to use his speech in Denver to bring a message of peace and reconciliation between Muslims and others.”

Dr. Sabri has taken the position that there is no evidence whatsoever of a Jewish historical presence at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, denying the existence of any Temple at that holy location, and declaring “It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world.” “By denying the historical connection of the Jewish people to Israel,” said DeBoskey, “Dr. Sabri not only seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Judaism, he undermines the foundations of Christianity as well.”

Only a few weeks before September 11, Dr. Sabri called for the destruction of the United States and Britain in a sermon broadcast over Palestinian Authority radio. He has been quoted as saying:  "O Allah, destroy America as it is controlled by Zionist Jews.” To an Egyptian newspaper, Dr. Sabri was quoted as saying: “The Jews do not dare to bother me, because they are the most cowardly creatures Allah has ever created.”  Dr. Sabri has shown support for youthful suicide bombers who murder innocent Israelis, having been quoted as saying: “The younger the martyr - the greater and the more I respect him.” Moreover, recently, Dr. Sabri reportedly relied on the viciously anti-Semitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as the Jewish holy book of the Talmud, to support his conclusion that is the goal of Jews to “cause confusion…and undermine security throughout the world.”

“Of course, we recognize Dr. Sabri’s right to speak,” said DeBoskey, “but given today’s time of heightened tension throughout the world and a greater-than-ever need for sensitivity among people of different faiths and cultures, we call upon Dr. Sabri to repudiate his hateful comments and to promote positive relations among people from different backgrounds in these challenging times.  Colorado is no place for a message of hate.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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