Mohamed Joban, current full-time imam at Masjid Ar-Ramah in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, WA, received his M.A. in Islamic Studies at Sunni Islam’s Vatican for religious education, Al-Azhar University. He is also president of the Imam Fatwa (religious edict) Committee, and Muslim chaplain for the Department of Corrections, in Washington State. Imam Joban, who regularly teaches Koranic interpretation at Masjid Ar-Ramah, delivered a lecture “And Then They’re Turned to Become Apes,” ~ 2-weeks ago (uploaded 12/17/19 by the mosque, and still available in full here). Transcribed accurately by MEMRI, the good imam’s discussion of Koran 7:163–166, and the related mention of Koran 5:60, riveted upon Allah’s “reminder” to Muhammad about Jewish deception to transgress Allah’s will—and Allah’s punishment for these inveterate Jewish traits:
“Allah said (to Muhammad): ‘Ask them.’ (Koran 7:163) Ask who? The Jews in Medina…Ask them about the city or town that [was] close to the ocean – the sea…Why did Allah ask Muhammad?…The verse (Koran 7:166) appears on the screen with an image of macaque monkeys. Mohamad Joban chants and the congregation repeats after him: ‘Then, when they [the Jews] rebelled against the commands to refrain, We said to them, ‘Be despicable apes.’…Allah said in another verse (Koran 5:60) Allah turned… Some of them became, what? A pig…Allah just wanted to tell us what Allah told you a long time ago that people turned into monkeys and that this is true. It is religion, look at them, some of them stayed apes and pigs”…
Popular Houston, TX imam Omar Suleiman, granted the privilege of delivering an invocation to the U.S. Congress May 9, 2019, has elaborated in ugly detail about how the Koranic epithets “apes,” or “apes and pigs,” are appropriate for most Jews at present, when modified to “brothers of apes and pigs,” given their eternal predilection for deceit. Indeed, according to the earliest sacralized, pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad (by Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Saad), just before subduing the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza, Islam’s prophet invoked this striking Koranic motif for the Jews debasement, addressing these Jews, with hateful disparagement, as “You brothers of apes” (per Ibn Ishaq), or “Brothers of apes and pigs. Fear me, fear me,” (per Ibn Saad). Ibn Ishaq’s account maintains that upon their surrender, Muhammad himself beheaded between 600 to 900 of the adult Jewish males of the Banu Qurayza, and enslaved their wives and children.
Moreover, Imam Joban’s and Imam Suleiman’s contemporary understanding of these Koranic epithets is validated, arguably, by its most authoritative current interpretation. Late Al-Azhar University Grand Imam, and Sunni Islam’s Papal equivalent, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (d. 2010), was also an iconic commentator on the Koran. Tantawi’s gloss on Koran 5:60 condemned in broad terms, “the corrupt thinking and false assumptions and claims of the Jews,” further maintaining “what you [the Jews] claim is even more evil as shown in the penalty that has befallen you as you have been cursed and become estranged from Allah’s mercy and compassion, and what has befallen your ancestors, of whom some were transformed into apes, others into pigs.” As Grand Imam, Tantawi, in April 2002, referred to Israeli Jews, as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs,” and that same month, sanctioned homicide bombing “martyrdom” operations against “any Israeli, including children, women, and teenagers,” notwithstanding the gruesome Netanya Passover carnage just beforehand, on March 27, 2002.
Past as prologue, dehumanizing Koranic references to Jews as apes (or apes and pigs) were used explicitly for polemical incitement to large scale, annihilationist pogroms against dhimmi Jewish communities. These Koranic epithets were featured in polemical discourse which incited the slaughter of 4000 Jews, wiping out the entire Jewish community of Granada, during 1066, within mythically “tolerant” Muslim Spain. Similar pogroms, also accompanied by polemical references to Jews as apes, killed hundreds of Jews in Baghdad, and its environs, proliferating into Iran, at the end of the 13thcentury, and hundreds more in southern Morocco at the close of the 15th century, liquidating two Jewish oasis communities.
The Jewish Federation of Seattle is a mere ~20 miles from Masjid ar-Ramah where Imam Joban delivered his dehumanizing “update” of the Jews as apes/pigs Koranic calumny. On July 28, 2006, jihadist Naveed Haq took a 13 year-old girl hostage, and forced his way into the Jewish Federation, killing one, and wounding 5 others. While in police custody, Haq declared, speaking to his parents, “I got the Jews…They were enemies. I did it purposely. Now I’m going to heaven.” Haq’s murderous assault serves as a grim reminder of what can be incited by Imam Joban’s mainstream, “sacralized” Islamic religious dehumanization of Jews, derived from the Koran, and “aping” the words and deeds of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Timorous Jewish leadership must condemn Joban’s lecture in that specific context.