The Muslim American Society’s Philadelphia chapter and the Islamic Leaders Academy of home schooled children on Wednesday apologized for a video shot at their event celebrating diversity in Muslim communities, where a sweet Arab girl in traditional dress and head cover sang: “We Will Sacrifice Ourselves For Al-Aqsa; Will Chop Off The Enemies’ Heads, Subject Them To Eternal Torture.”
The video was posted on the Islamic center’s Facebook page, and has since been taken down. The entire event is under investigation by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
The Islamists’ apology read: “Over the last decade our members have poured their soul and resources to create a harmonious, peaceful and engaged community. We are very sad that within minutes all of this work was tarnished and we realize the mistake is ours to own. … We are deeply saddened to have hurt our partners in the Jewish community and beyond.”
“The children did not understand this song as their command of Arabic is not advanced,” the statement continued, suggesting the text was “a selection that primarily sought to highlight the children’s capacity to read and project Arabic rhetoric; however, they have not yet mastered enough grammar to comprehend the words.”
Nancy Baron-Baer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia issued a statement saying, “We appreciate the very detailed and thorough statement and apology that was released today. We understand that people make mistakes. With that said … it’s incumbent on the adults in the room to understand what was being said and recognize that words like that are absolutely unacceptable at any time, in any language.”
The Islamic center complained that it has been receiving hate phone calls about the video, as well as two protest rallies outside their building, where the protesters shouted “hateful messages.” The center also said it was forced to increase its security as a result.