US

Muslim Group Says Children Didn’t Understand the Words When Singing About Beheading Jews

By Zachary Stieber

A Muslim Brotherhood-linked group in Philadelphia said that it finished an investigation into children singing violent songs and poems at one of its centers, including a song about beheading Jews in Israel.

The children who recited the violent poems and song did not understand the meaning of the words they uttered, the Muslim American Society in Philadelphia said in a statement on May 15 sent to news outlets.

All of the adults in the room except for one either didn’t know Arabic or weren’t paying attention while the children sang the songs and poems, the group claimed, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. They said the performances were “a grave mistake.” The statement was not released on the society’s website or social media pages.

One of the songs had children singing about “liberat[ing] the sorrowful and exalted AL-Aqsa Mosque”—which sits in Jerusalem and is revered by both Muslims and Jews—by beheading Jews. “We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling His promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture,” the lyrics continued.

“We are deeply saddened to have hurt our partners in the Jewish community and beyond,” the society said in the statement.

In a previous statement, the society said the songs were not “properly vetted” and called what happened “an unintended mistake and an oversight.”

That quote was later removed from the statement. In the updated statement, the society said that the school that organized the event, which took place on April 17, was a separate entity that was just renting space from the society.

The videos were uploaded to the society’s official Facebook page.

Not only did all of the adults in the room except for one not realize the violent lyrics that were being sung, the society said, but the person who uploaded the videos did so “without verifying the content.”

Still, the society said in the latest statement that the mistake was “ours to own.”

Nancy K. Baron-Baer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia, told the Inquirer that mistakes happen, but this one shouldn’t have.

“We understand that mistakes can happen,” Baron-Baer said. “However, the fact that children and adults did not understand what they were saying is neither an excuse nor proper pedagogy. It should be incumbent on the adults in the room to understand what is being said before agreeing to perform the songs and poetry. It is also important to recognize that words like the ones said are unacceptable in any language and at any time.”

The chapter previously called the event “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. “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.”

According to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune in 2004, the Muslim American Society was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood—which the United States is working to designate as terrorist organization—and used by the group to operate in America.

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, events held by radical Muslims are more common than people realize. It said that the advocacy 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.”