B’nai B’rith Condemns Comments From Controversial Imam Who Gave Opening Prayer in House Of Representatives
(Washington, D.C., May 13, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are outraged that Imam Omar Suleiman was chosen to give the opening Ramadan invocation at the House of Representatives. Suleiman, who leads the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, has a history of making inflammatory comments about Israel that endorse violence against Jews and peddle in anti-Semitic tropes.
There are numerous examples of hateful comments on Suleiman’s social media and in his public statements. During the 2014 Gaza war, which Israel fought against the terrorist group Hamas, Suleiman tweeted: "God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs." His tweet implies support for Hamas and the end of the Jewish state.
Suleiman has also referred to Israel as the “51st state,” building on the anti-Semitic notion that the small country somehow controls American foreign policy. At a 2017 rally, he said of the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: “Your recognition means nothing to us. Your maps mean nothing to us, your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize. Our land is our land, our dignity is our dignity.”
His anti-Israel stance is a thin political cover for his anti-Semitic beliefs, which include veiled support for anti-Semitic violence. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who issued the invitation to Suleiman, and the House should be ashamed that his comments did not disqualify him from giving the opening prayer.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org