An Israeli NGO has reported on a controversial video posted in April by the Muslim American Society (MAS) Philadelphia chapter on its now defunct Facebook page. This video showed children singing a song calling for the violent liberation of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine and a poem referring to chopping off their enemies’ heads and submitting them to “eternal torture.” In a May 5th Facebook post, the MAS claimed that the video was made by an unidentified school renting their space :
The Muslim American Society was alerted yesterday to a disturbing video that came out of Philadelphia. MAS immediately issued a preliminary statement on our website, condemning the words used in the video as we swiftly investigated the matter. MAS’ deep commitment to values of peace, justice, freedom and sanctity of life are clear. As a faith-based organization committed to building a just and virtuous society, we stand strong in our condemnation of hate and violence anywhere, even in the lyrics of a song. 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. Unfortunately, the video from the school was uploaded to the chapter’s Facebook page without verifying the content of the video for appropriateness and making sure it conforms to our hate-free policy and values. The chapter will take further steps in assuring strict adherence to publishing and posting policies.
Read the rest here
However, in an apparent contradiction to the above, on May 15 local media reported that MAS Philadelphia and a group called the Leaders Academy apologized for the events of the video, took responsibility, and claimed that the children did not have the sufficient level of Arabic to understand what they were saying.
Another media report indicates that two other groups use the space in question- the al-Hidaya Islamic Center, a mosque that posted over a hundred pictures of the event on Facebook and the “Muslim American Society Leaders Academy,” which has been described as an independent organization from MAS Philadelphia. However, both the al-Hidaya mosque and the Leaders Academy appear to be closely tied to MAS Philadelphia:
- The al-Hidaya mosque is located at the same address as MAS Philadelphia and is described by media reports and in multiple directories as the same organization.
- Corporate documents posted by the Investigative Project indicate that the records of MAS Philadelphia and the Leader’s Academy were filed by the same person and share the same mailing address and some officers.
In response to the incident, officials of the al-Hidaya mosque and the Leaders Academy participated in a training session on Judaism and anti-Semitism, ironically run by Jacob Bender, the Executive Director of the Philadelphia branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) a US Muslim Brotherhood group with its own long history of anti- Semitism.