Former CUNY Professor Claims Muslims Will 'Erase This Filth Called Israel' in Anti-Semitic Sermon

The city university system has been dogged with allegations of anti-Semitism

Mohammad Abbasi / YouTube screenshot
July 29, 2021

An imam who formerly served as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) said in a sermon that Muslims will "erase this filth called Israel" after accusing Jews of creating a "colonial" settlement.

Mohammad Abbasi, who taught at the CUNY School of Professional Studies in 2017, delivered the remarks in a June 25 sermon at the Islamic Center of Union City, N.J.

"So they won this time, they established their colonial project called Israel," Abbasi said. "So here is the conclusion. I don't want to leave you depressed. I want to give you the good news now. With the help of Allah they will erase this filth called Israel."

CUNY School of Professional Studies spokeswoman Andrea Fagon told the Washington Free Beacon that Abbasi has not taught at the School of Professional Studies since 2017. The university "strongly condemns and denounces the anti-Semitic remarks made by a former adjunct instructor."

Anti-Semitism has increasingly become a problem for the CUNY system. More than 100 professors resigned from CUNY's Professional Staff Congress, the university's branch of the American Federation of Teachers, after the union passed a resolution that referred to Israel as an "apartheid" state, the Free Beacon reported. The union also backed the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and said it condemns the "massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state."

Several Jewish professors who left the union told the Free Beacon they've been attacked and targeted for their faith while at CUNY. University administrators have failed to respond to any of the incidents, the professors said, disregarding a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report from February confirming that the university has created a hostile environment for Jews.

It's not surprising that CUNY hired Abbasi, Kingsborough Community College adjunct business professor Michael Goldstein told the Free Beacon.

"Why should we not at all be surprised that CUNY would be employing a vile, Jew-hating antisemite like this individual?" Goldstein asked. He said former CUNY chancellor Joseph Murphy, whose mother was Jewish, "has to be rolling over in his grave."

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) released a statement Wednesday calling on CUNY to fire Abbasi over the speech.

"At a time when antisemitic violence is on the rise throughout the United States, no one, especially someone charged with educating young adults, should be further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism like this and endorsing violence against Israel," Zeldin said. "As we saw last month, the CUNY faculty has an antisemitism problem, and this is just another example."

CUNY administrators could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

Update Aug. 4, 10:09 a.m.: Following publication of this article, CUNY School of Professional Studies spokeswoman Fagon told the Free Beacon Abbasi no longer teaches at CUNY's School of Professional Studies. His LinkedIn still lists him as an adjunct professor.