The Sheikh’s Press Pass

When a large new Islamic center opened its doors in London on June 11, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, flew in to deliver an inaugural speech.

Under the headline, ‘Saudi Imam Urges British Muslims To Promote Peace,’ Associated Press reports this al-Sudais statement from the event:

The history of Islam is the best testament to how different communities can live together in peace and harmony… Muslims should exemplify the true image of Islam in their interaction with other communities and dispel any misconceptions in some parts of the media.

BBC also spoke glowingly of al-Sudais as the ‘world’s most celebrated imam’ who delivered a kindly talk promoting ‘community cohesion’ between Muslims and their neighbors (text, video).

While al-Sudais’ London call for peaceful co-existence is certainly laudable, BBC and AP failed to inform readers of the ‘second face’ that al-Sudais presents to non-Western audiences. For example, MEMRI documents al-Sudais’ talks in November 2002, when he

beseeched Allah to annihilate the Jews. He also urged the Arabs to give up peace initiatives with [Jews] because they are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs… These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption…”

Due to such statements, Canadian authorities reportedly denied al-Sudais’ request to enter Canada just last month.

Arab media expert Steven Stalinsky documents that al-Sudais’ hateful talks are not limited to Jew-baiting. Al-Sudais believes that

[Christian] “worshippers of the cross” and “idol-worshipping Hindus” … should be fought. Al-Sudayyis has been consistent in calling for jihad in Kashmir and Chechnya, for Jerusalem to be liberated, and for the “occupiers in Iraq” to also be fought. He often claims that Islam is superior to Western culture.

Given the Saudi imam’s well-documented history of jihadist incitement, news reports welcoming his call for “peace and harmony” in London should have at least made reference to the vitriolic anti-Semitic and anti-western ideology that he regularly promotes from Mecca ? the very heart of world Islam.

Imagine if David Duke were to speak in London on ‘peace and harmony’ ? would AP and BBC even consider omitting Duke’s white supremacist views from their coverage of his speech?

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