antisemitism,  Islamism

Anti-Semitic Saudi chief imam feted in London

This is a guest post by Peter Tatchell

Despite his sectarian, racist incitements that Jews are “scum…rats…pigs and monkeys,” the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al Sudais, has been welcomed and invited to preach at the East London mosque in Whitechapel tonight, Tuesday evening, 4 August 2009.

Al-Sudais, who has close ties to the Saudi elite, has also insulted Christians and Hindus, referring disparagingly to Christians as “cross-worshippers” and Hindus as “idol worshippers”.

He has been banned from Canada for his anti-Semitism.

The chairman of the East London mosque is Muhammad Abdul Bari. He is also the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Although the MCB had condemned anti-Semitism, it has previously declined to criticise the anti-Semitism of al-Sudais and has continued to support him despite his anti-Jewish tirade. Al-Sudais has stoked religious sectarianism and anti-Jewish racism. He has never expressed any regret. I urge the East London mosque and the MCB to publicly condemn al-Sudais’s shameful prejudice.

As a condition for him being allowed to preach, the East London Mosque and MCB should insist that al-Sudais apologise for his
anti-Semitism and publicly state his opposition to hatred, discrimination and violence against Jewish people.

The East London mosque received $US1m from the Saudis towards its new London Muslim Centre. The mosque’s links to Saudi Arabia go back many years, according to the BBC.

I don’t understand why the Home Secretary is allowing al-Sudais into Britain, given that similar hate preachers have been banned. Is it because of the close business links between the British and Saudi establishments?

Al-Sudais was appointed imam of the Grand Mosque by the royal leaders of the pro-western Saudi dictatorship. His continuing tenure as chief imam is a damning indictment of the Saudi regime’s toleration of anti-Semitism.

I am surprised that the Jewish community in Britain has not kicked up a big fuss about him coming to Britain.

On 19 April 2002 in Mecca, in a sermon that was broadcast on Saudi Arabia’s TV1 television station, and placed on the website that
publishes Mecca sermons, al-Sudais is recorded as echoing Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, with openly racist caricatures of Jewish

“Yesterday’s Jews are evil predecessors and today’s Jews are worse successors…They are…the worst of mankind. Allaah cursed them and cast His wrath upon them. He turned some of them to monkeys and pigs and worshippers of creatures… History of Jews is full of deception, trickery, rebellion, oppression, evil and corruption. They always seek to cause mischief on the earth and Allaah loves not the mischief-makers…They always think of betrayal and trick; and injustice and aggression run in their veins. They want only corruption and harming others.”

The Daily Telegraph has confirmed and reported this anti-Semitism, noting that al-Sudais has described Jews as “scum of the earth”, “rats of the world” and “monkeys and pigs” and suggested that they would be annihilated.

It is true that al-Sudais has also made some liberal, conciliatory statements towards Jewish people, mostly in the west and to western
journalists and audiences. Critics say these statements in the west contradict what he tells Arab and Muslim audiences.

This point was made by a BBC Panorama programme broadcast on 21 August 2005, A Question of Leadership. It, too, alleged that Sheikh Sudais says one thing to western audiences and something quite different to his Muslim followers in the Middle East. The BBC reported that al-Sudais has said:

“The worst … of the enemies of Islam are those… whom he… made monkeys and pigs, the aggressive Jews and oppressive Zionists and those that follow them: the callers of the trinity and the cross worshippers… those influenced by the rottenness of their ideas, and the poison of their cultures the followers of secularism… How can we talk sweetly when the Hindus and the idol worshippers indulge in their overwhelming hatred against our brothers… in Muslim Kashmir…”

Other reports say Al-Sudais’s sermons have been broadcast to two million followers in Mecca, where he’s called Jews “scum”, “the rats of the world,” “prophet killers … pigs and monkeys.” The sheikh has also characterized Jews as “evil,” “evil forefathers,” a “continuum of deceit,” and full of “tyranny” and “treachery.”

In a May 2003 interview with NBC’s Tim Russert, the foreign policy adviser to the Saudi crown prince, Adel al-Jubeir, confirmed
al-Sudais’s anti-Jewish statements, and admitted that they were “clearly not right.”

Al-Sudais has also urged Arabs and Muslims to abandon peace initiatives with Israel: “We must say farewell to peace initiatives with these people [Jews],” he told worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

UPDATE: More in The Londoner’s Diary.