Jewish Community Responds to Video of Imam’s Lesson to Young Students that Includes Antisemitic Tropes

Oct 27, 2023 | Article, JCRC, Press Release

Jewish Community Responds to Video of Imam’s Lesson to Young Students that Includes Antisemitic Tropes

Oct 27, 2023

Denver CO, October 27, 2023 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), The Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and the Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors (RMRC) express serious concern about a lesson taught by a Colorado Imam seen on video teaching young children at the Colorado Muslims Community Center that Jews are not trustworthy, they killed their prophets, and that Allah turned Jews into monkeys. He also claimed to the children that Israel keeps defeating the Palestinians because the Jews trick them into trusting them. The incident comes only days after ADL released a report that antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas. The outrage and hurt caused by the comments continue to reverberate throughout the Jewish community in Colorado.

According to Scott Levin, ADL Mountain States Regional Director, “If we are ever going to have peace between our peoples, we must have respect for one another. It is difficult enough to see the recent spike in antisemitic incidents since Hamas attacked innocent civilians in Israel but knowing that someone entrusted to be a religious leader is teaching dehumanizing, antisemitic tropes to the youngest and most impressionable people in our society is hurtful and alarming.”

JCRC Director Dan Leshem stated, “The JCRC is horrified to see racism and hatred being taught to children in any religious institution, particularly one right here in Colorado. There is no place for the ugly ancient language of hate in our modern world. We are your neighbors and friends, and we ask that you treat us with the same respect and care as you would give to any other members of the community. We call on all clergy to help our communities come together in these difficult and tragic times rather than pull us apart.”

Rabbi Emily Hyatt, President of Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors, added, “As clergy, we each hold enormous responsibility – to create community, to build bridges, and to teach our children how to build a better world in each generation. We ask that our neighbors do the same, and help us to foster communication, collaboration, and peace amongst all people or all religions.”

The video of the lesson was captured as part of the Middle East Media Research Institute’s “Sermons by Imams in the West” project. The project flags publicly available rhetoric to a broad audience. Since the Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, ADL has recorded a significant spike in antisemitic incidents across the United States and in Colorado. Preliminary data from the ADL Center on Extremism indicates that reported incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault increased by 388 percent over the same period last year. ADL Mountain States estimates incidents are nearly triple what they received at this time last year.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all. More at

The JCRC is a program of JEWISHcolorado. With 39 member agencies and 15 at-large members, it serves as the primary community relations and public affairs agency for the Jewish community throughout Colorado. More at

The RMRC is a multi-denominational agency serving Colorado rabbis and cantors from the various branches of Judaism. More at


Scott Levin, ADL Mountain States Regional Director; 720-448-3966