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On February 1, 2023 the right-wing Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) produced a misleading translation of a lecture by Dr. Moustafa Kamel, Imam of the Alansar Mosque in Anaheim, California. The video MEMRI produced attempted to manipulate a talk he gave through video editing in order to misrepresent Dr. Moustafa’s message. MEMRI is known for falsifying and misrepresenting facts with the aim of distorting the image of Islam and Muslims in the United States and worldwide.
Who is MEMRI?
MEMRI claims to be "independent" and "non-partisan" institute that was formed “to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East.” However, the truth is quite different from that. MEMRI is one of the most notorious online platforms spreading Islamophobia in the West. Furthermore, it is infamously known for supporting Israel and always seeks to defame anyone who opposes the occupation as an antisemite. Not only are Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, targets of their racist campaign, but Jews who oppose Zionism as well. It was co-founded in 1998 by former Israeli military intelligence officer, Yigal Carmon, and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born American political scientist.
Dr. Moustafa Kamel’s Video
The obvious misrepresentation Dr. Moustafa Kamel’s words shown in the heavily edited video is a clear attempt to undermine his reputation as a religious leader who is known for moderation and tolerance among people of all faith backgrounds. It is yet another example of how MEMRI has proven it seeks to target anyone who dares to criticize the policies of the Israeli occupation, deliberately conflating that with antisemitism.
Dr. Moustafa Kamel’s video was heavily edited with the clear intent to manipulate his words with the aim of assassinating his character. The Imam gives a lecture as part of a weekly series on Sahih al-Imam al-Bukhari, which recounts the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. In this lecture, the Imam had arrived at the traditions fortelling the end of times citing a well-known hadith narrated by Abu Huraira about the conflicts that will take place therein – concepts the three monotheistic religions share in common, with varying details. The Imam conveyed what was mentioned in the traditions and did not call for conflict between Jews and Muslims on a religious basis. It was clear from the video that Dr. Moustafa was simply quoting the hadith and tying it to a critique of the Israeli occupation as a moral political position, and did not take a hostile position against Judaism as a religion nor the Jewish people. Indeed, many Jews around the world have taken a moral stance against Zionism and the State of Israel, making their classification as enemies contradictory to Islam and its beliefs.
MEMRI’S cut-and-paste editing has the primary objectives of deepening Islamophobia in America and targeting anyone who dares to criticize Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, a matter that is condemned globablly. It is clear that MEMRI and the rest of Israel’s apologists are working overtime in order to cover for the current right-wing fascist Israeli government and the crimes it is committing against the Palestinians, which even the United States has had to condemn. Hence, they are attempting to divert the discussion and current focus on Israel’s atrocities by fabricating stories about the advocates of Palestinian rights through falsifying and manipulating their words. MEMRI's agenda is to selectively focus on supporters of Palestinian rights, while ignoring the outrageous statements made by religious and political leaders in Israel, some of whom who have called for the genocide of the Palestinian people.
We urge all to hear from Dr. Moustafa directly as to his position with regard to this issue rather than rely on doctored videos or hearsay and call on community members to reach out to the mosque directly should you have any further questions.
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