An Islamic Hate Speaker Comes to Town

When Dominic Grieve -- the Tory U.K. shadow home secretary and attorney general -- took to the podium at the grotesquely misnamed 2008 Global Peace and Unity event, he pulled no punches.

While thanking his hosts for the opportunity to speak, he became highly unpopular with the audience when he attacked other event speakers who espouse conspiracy theories and extremist interpretations of Islam and who reflect a "deranged or deeply-warped mindset."

One of those he mentioned by name was Yasir Qadhi.

Yasir Qadhi, a Houston-based cleric, is quite popular in Islamic circles, speaking around the world and appearing regularly on Middle East television networks. Qadhi also serves as an instructor for the Al Maghrib Institute, aka "Jihad U." It is in that capacity that he is coming to my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, this week to conduct a three-day seminar for Qabeelat Hayl, the Columbus Al Maghrib chapter.

What specifically troubled Dominic Grieve about his joint appearance with Qadhi was the Islamic preacher's recorded statements denying the Holocaust and claiming that Hitler never intended to kill the Jews, amongst other anti-Jewish statements. Grieve was referring to a sermon Qadhi delivered in 2001 where he directed his listeners to a book entitled The Hoax of the Holocaust:

All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that's another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, The Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they're talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We're not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct.

Qadhi went on to elaborate that Jews infiltrated the Islamic studies departments at American universities because "they [the Jews] want to destroy us:"

You can use this against them (Jews) so easily. ... You go to America, you find that 95 percent of the Islamic Studies professors are Jews, you know that? 95 percent of Islamic Studies [sic] are Jews. And 0 percent of Judaic Studies [sic] are Muslims. I am not advising any Muslim to waste his time studying Judaism but I'm saying, why are Jews studying Islam? There is a reason, not that they want to help us, they want to destroy us ... they want to bring about doubts, look at the doubts that exist, look at the divisions, the discord, look at the disunity, look at all these ideologies that are being spread. Know that the Yahood [Jews] and the Kuffar [Infidels] like this type of thing.

Interestingly, I posted a short clip of these statements taken from his sermon on YouTube to request comment from local Jewish organizations. No sooner had the clip appeared than Qadhi's media company, EmanRush, filed a copyright claim and had the video removed. I did, however, find that the clip is still available elsewhere (which undoubtedly Qadhi will promptly have removed as well).

Now in fairness to Qadhi, after the U.K. policy think tank Policy Exchange circulated a dossier prior to last year's Global Peace and Unity event noting these statements, and U.K. bloggers also took up the cause, Qadhi published -- seven years after the fact -- an explanation saying that he had been tricked into making these statements because he didn't know that the Holocaust-deniers he relied upon would actually be pushing Holocaust-denial.