Mohammad Abbasi, an adjunct professor at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and an imam, spoke at a June 25 sermon at the Islamic Center of Union City in New Jersey.
During his remarks, Abbasi claimed that Israel was a “colonial project” and concluded with “good news” for his fellow Muslims. “I don’t want to leave you depressed, I want to give you the good news now. With the help of Allah, they [the Muslims] will erase this filth called Israel,” he said at the end of the speech.
Abbasi may have been referring to a verse in the Quran from the chapter titled the “Night Journey” (Surah al-Isra), which describes Mohammed’s journey to al-Aqsa (commonly identified as the southern part of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). The verse reads “And We conveyed to the Children of Israel in the Scripture that, ‘You will surely cause corruption on the earth twice, and you will surely reach [a degree of] great haughtiness.'”
Anti-Semitism has increasingly become a problem for the CUNY system. More than 100 professors resigned from CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress, the university’s branch of the American Federation of Teachers, after the union passed a resolution that referred to Israel as an “apartheid” state, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The union also backed the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and said it condemns the “massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state.” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) released a statement Wednesday calling on CUNY to fire Abbasi over the speech.
“At a time when antisemitic violence is on the rise throughout the United States, no one, especially someone charged with educating young adults, should be further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism like this and endorsing violence against Israel,” Zeldin said. “As we saw last month, the CUNY faculty has an antisemitism problem, and this is just another example.”
ARTICLE: JENNIFER BARRETO-LEYVA
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: GRAFITI ARTS
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