Despite their small numbers, their message is loud and clear – another Muslim leader condemns the wave of Islamic terror attacks against Israeli civilians. 

A leader of the Ahmadi Muslim community in Israel condemned the recent wave of terror attacks perpetrated by Arab terrorists against Israelis, and especially the Jerusalem synagogue massacre, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports.

Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Odeh, leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Israel, criticized the attacks as a distortion of Islam:

“I visited the synagogue that was attacked in Jerusalem, and from the first moment, I felt a sense of anger because of this shameful act, which does not conform to our glorious Islam and contradicts its principles of tolerance. My condemnation of this crime arises from my understanding of and belief in glorious Islam.”

Odeh was referring to the November 18 attack in which two Arabs slaughtered four Jewish worshipers and a policeman.

Further expressing his disapproval of the synagogue attack, Odeh stated that Muslims must “defend, first of all, the churches, houses of worship and monasteries of their fellow men, even before their own mosques.”

Strong Condemnation of the PA and Fatah

Rejecting the statements of the PA and Fatah leadership, who have supported, defended and glorified the attacks, Odeh said: “I assert that those people who are attempting to sanction this crime or incite to similar acts in the name of religion have no backing from the Quran.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a relatively small branch of Islam that was founded at the end of the 19th century and has between 10 and 20 million followers worldwide. Many mainstream Muslims consider Ahmadis heretics and non-Muslim, and they have been subjected to persecution and oppression. Pakistan, for example, amended its Constitution to categorize them as non-Muslims and prohibits them from identifying as Muslims. There have even been riots in Muslim countries in which Ahmadis were killed for their “heretical” beliefs. In this context, Odeh’s public outcry is a very brave act. Furthermore, Odeh published his statement in an op-ed via the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, ensuring that his condemnation of the attacks was heard by the broad public.

A Different Muslim Voice

The Chief Rabbi of Akko, Yosef Yashar (L), and the main Imam of Akko, Sheikh Samir Assi (R ), shake hands (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Chief Rabbi of Akko, Yosef Yashar (L), and the main Imam of Akko, Sheikh Samir Assi (R ), shake hands (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Odeh, in his words, was echoing the actions of Muslim Sheikh Samir Assi of Acre, who denounced the killings and even went to the site of the attack to pay his condolences.

Sheikh Assi was one of the organizers of a joint meeting with various religious leaders, in conjunction with congregants of the synagogue and community members, who came to express their grief and offer words of peace. In the very courtyard where the terrorists killed a Druze policeman before being shot by security, Assi spoke out against the murders together with Jewish and Christian clergy.

“We came to this place to take a stand toward this criminal act, which involves an assault against the sanctity of the house of God, and against the unarmed worshipers,” said Assi, the imam of the al-Jazaar mosque.

Two days later Sheikh Assi’s car was damaged by acid. The police arrested a Muslim in connection with this attack.

You Can Help Secure a Safer Israel

The Palestinian population in Israel largely lacks the type of moderate leadership that mainstream media often cites. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas unite in glorifying terror and opposing attempts at coexistence in all its forms. Instead of facing a partner with which to build a foundation of tolerance and mutual recognition, Israel encounters imminent threats of terror every day.

Sign our petition now to urge the United States and the European Union to cut funding to the PA, eliminating the flow of resources to its terror proxies and helping to secure a safer Israel.

Author: United with Israel Staff
(With files from PMW)