Philadelphia Muslim group distances self from radical video

Muslim American Society's Philadelphia chapter says video showing children calling for violence does not represent its values.

Ben Ariel ,

Philadelphia
Philadelphia
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The Muslim American Society's Philadelphia chapter has distanced itself from a video that was posted to its Facebook page showing children speaking in Arabic about sacrifice and chopping off heads.

The executive director of the group said the video was not vetted before being posted on the Facebook page and it does not represent the group’s values, The Associated Press reports.

A translation of the video was circulated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). In it, three girls are shown singing song in what appears to have been a song contest or a graduation ceremony.

The first girl sang: "I am daughter of the revolution... With my blood, I crossed the border to Palestine of the free... The shield of the revolution shines from my chest."

The second girl sang: "I raise the banner of your rebels on every battlefield… Your perseverance, defiance, and determination will turn us into fedayeen. We will be martyred on your soil and you will cover us with a laurel crown."

The third girl sang: "I am a stone in a rebel's sling – I am a revolution that shakes the occupier... I will not be humiliated."

The organization’s Executive Director Ayman Hammous said, according to AP, that the Muslim American Society learned of the content of the video after the Middle East Media Research Institute posted a translation Friday. The society issued a statement calling the video "disturbing" and condemning the words used in it.

"It does not represent our understanding of Islam, nor the understanding of the mainstream Muslim community," Hammous said in an interview.

Hammous emphasized that the Muslim American Society has no organizational link to international groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and which the US is also planning to blacklist.

The school that organized last month's event is a separate entity that rents space, Hammous said. He added he couldn't immediately recall the school's name, referring to it as a local leaders' academy.

The Muslim American Society asked the school board to dismiss the person in charge of the program, which it did, Hammous said. He said he's "evaluating" the leadership of the Philadelphia chapter because they failed to provide proper oversight, but could not say yet whether anyone would be removed.

Hammous also said he is also reviewing the organization's social media policies, which the posting of the video violated, and bolstering training in Philadelphia. Future events at the Philadelphia chapter will have strict oversight by the Muslim American Society, even when they're organized by another entity, he added.




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