An prominent yet controversial imam at an Arlington, Va., mosque that is known for its radical ties recently urged a group of predominantly Ethiopian-born Muslims now living in the U.S. to wage a holy war for Islam, the Daily Caller
"The enemies of Allah are lining up. The question for us is, are we lining [up] or are we afraid because they may call us terrorists?” Imam Shaker Elsayed asked a crowd during a lecture at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria in late January.
The address was published on YouTube in February and has only recently come to the attention of some in the media.
Elsayed continued, "Let me give you the good news: they are already calling us terrorists anyway. Whether you sitting at home, watching TV, drinking coffee, sleeping or playing with your kids, you are a terrorist because you are a Muslim."
The Cairo-born U.S citizen continued, "Well, give them a run for their money. Make it worth it. Make this title worth it, and be a good Muslim . . . Muslim men when it is a price to pay, they are first in line. … They are the first in the community-service line. They are the first in jihad line," he declared to applause, reported the Daily Caller.
The remarks were made during an event celebrating the first anniversary of the "Ethio-Muslims movement in Washington D.C."
Following Elsayed's remarks, a representative of the Ethiopian group hosting the event took to the podium to declare that his speech was not calling for jihad.
"Just a disclaimer," the emcee said. "Imam Shakir, he’s not advocating for armed struggle in Ethiopia. He’s just simply giving us a lesson. We’ll just continue with our non-violent struggle until these guys who are in prison [in Ethiopia] who did not bow down for this repressive government . . . are free."
A predominantly Christian country, Ethiopia has successfully thwarted attempts by foreign Muslim armies to encroach on its territory for more than 1,000 years, according to the Daily Caller. In recent years violence has erupted between Christian and Muslim communities in the Eastern African nation, with Islamic strongholds claiming the central government has interfered in their activities.
Elsayed's Dar al-Hijrah mosque, which is named for the Islamic strategy of gradually expanding Islam into new territories through the use of migrants, is known for having employed American-born Anwar al-Awlaki
as an imam prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.
A U.S. citizen who was born to immigrant parents in New Mexico, Awlaki fled to the Middle East in 2004 to assist in the Jihad terrorist movement, where he was implicated in several jihadi attacks, both overseas and domestic. Awlaki was killed in a 2011 drone-attack in Yemen.
The Dar al-Hijrah mosque did not respond to inquiries from the Daily Caller about Elsayed's controversial remarks.
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