(March 11, 2020 / JNS) The Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) condemned “toxic and offensive” past statements of Imam Sayed Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn Heights, who spoke at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit before the Michigan primaries on Tuesday.
“The campaign has been made aware of offensive and toxic past statements by Imam Qazwini,” said Sanders’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir in a statement on Tuesday after numerous media outlets reported on the past statements of the imam.
In previous sermons, Qazwini said Sanders is an “honorable man, even though he is a Jew, but you know we have no problem with the Jewish people.”
“I have no doubt that ISIS is motivated by an agenda run by the enemies of Islam,” said Qazwini during a speech in November 2015 at Az-Zahraa Islamic Center in Detroit.
He said that because Israel “has been completely safe” from ISIS, “This speaks out. This speaks volumes: That ISIS somehow is connected to Israel, and ISIS is playing the role of the arm of the Zionist in the Muslim world to kill more Muslims and non-Muslims so it can define the name of Islam, so people can blame Islam for its atrocities.”
ISIS has threatened war with Israel.
“These statements are dangerous, hateful and violate the principles of our movement, which is based on values of equality and dignity for all people,” said Shakir. “Senator Sanders stands with those in Israel, Palestine and across the region who work for peace, and unequivocally rejects anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that seek to blame Israel for all the region’s problems, as well as any bigoted statements against any group.”
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden won the Michigan Democratic primary on Tuesday night with 71 out of the 125 delegates available—a crucial victory for the former in a state expected to play a major role in November’s presidential elections.
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