A Muslim group linked to the radical Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged that video footage showing small children singing “we will chop off their heads” for Allah is real and said it had fired the event organizer.
The videos were posted in mid-April to the Facebook page of the Muslim American Society’s Islamic Center in Philadelphia. It showed children singing a range of violent lyrics, including: “The blood of the martyrs is calling us. Paradise, men desire it.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute, a watchdog group, translated Arabic lyrics and said at one point children sang: “We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem]. We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling His promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture.”
The Muslim American Society (MAS) said in a statement that the songs were not “properly vetted.”
“While we celebrate the coming together of different cultures and languages, not all songs were properly vetted,” the society stated on May 3, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This was an unintended mistake and an oversight in which the center and the students are remorseful. MAS will conduct an internal investigation to ensure this does not occur again.”
That quote was later removed from the statement and a Facebook post the society’s Philadelphia chapter made Friday night was later deleted.
According to its website, the Muslim American Society has more than 50 chapters throughout the United States. Part of its mission is “to convey Islam with utmost clarity.”
According to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune in 2004, the society was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the United States is considering declaring a terrorist organization, and used by the group to operate in America.
About 40 Brotherhood members from across the country gathered in 1993 to form the group, former member Mustafa Saied told the Tribune. But an internal document circulated by the society advised leaders who were asked if they were part of the brotherhood to respond that they were an independent group.
“And if the topic of terrorism were raised, leaders were told to say that they were against terrorism but that jihad was among a Muslim’s ‘divine legal rights’ to be used to defend himself and his people and to spread Islam,” the Tribune stated. Shaker Elsayed, a top official in the group at the time, said that about 45 percent of the most active members also belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to IRS filings, most of the money the group collects is aimed at schools, teachers, and children.
In its statement in response to the videos, the society claimed it was against all forms of hate.
“As a faith-based organization dedicated to moving people to strive for God-consciousness and a just and virtuous society, we affirm our long-standing position on our shared values of humanity. We stand resolutely in our condemnation of hate, bigotry, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and all the illnesses of hate that plague our society,” it stated.
In an update to its original statement, issued on May 4, the society said that it was informed “the person in charge” of the April 17 event was “dismissed” and tried distancing itself from what happened.
“Our investigation revealed that the school that organized the event on April 17, 2019, is a separate entity renting space from MAS Philadelphia. The school board has informed us that it has taken immediate actions and dismissed the person in charge of the program. In addition, they will form a local commission to aid in sensitivity training and proper supervision for future programs,” it stated.
Our Statement on the reported anti-Israel presentations at “Ummah Day” at the Philadelphia Chapter of the Muslim American Society: pic.twitter.com/WMxkGQo8E1
— ADL Philadelphia (@ADLPhiladelphia) May 3, 2019
Philadelphia’s Anti-Defamation League was among the individuals and groups criticizing the event, calling it “extremely disturbing.”
“Children should not be indoctrinated to hate. These young people should never have been asked to make speeches and dance and lip-sync to songs that glorify violence against Jews and the State of Israel,” the group said in a statement. “The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is deeply complex and painful on all sides, and the only chance for a peaceful future is to teach our children to pursue peace.”
The Muslim American Society was declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates in 2014 in a list that also included ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Boko Haram.
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, events held by radical Muslims are more common than people realize. The group said that the group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), held a workshop entitled “Palestine Will Be Free” at a mosque associated with the Muslim American Society’s Philadelphia chapter and at least five officials from AMP were linked to a now-defunct group that was tasked with helping the Hamas terrorist group both financially and politically.
“AMP events often focus on ways to pressure Israel into absorbing all Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in an effort to destroy the Jewish state. For many American Islamist groups, the entire territory that comprises Israel and the Palestinian territories is considered Israeli occupied territory,” the project stated.
“This mindset was on full display during the MAS-Philadelphia event, as children donned T-shirts with a map of Israel and the territories as a singular Palestinian entity. Denying Israel’s right to exist is a form of anti-Semitism.”