Muslim leaders in Philadelphia apologized Wednesday after video emerged of children speaking in Arabic about beheading Jews at an event at a Philadelphia Islamic center last month.
The Muslim American Society’s Philadelphia chapter acknowledged ownership of the “mistake” in a statement, Israel Hayom reports.
“Over the last decade our members have poured their soul and resources to create a harmonious, peaceful and engaged community,” the statement said. “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 Muslim American Society initially called the incident “an unintended mistake and an oversight” after the video was published.
In the video, one girl says “we will chop off their heads” to “liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.
“We will defend the land of divine guidance with our bodies, and we will sacrifice our souls without hesitation. We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling his promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture,” a girl reads.
Children also sang about the “blood of martyrs” and “Rebels, rebels, rebels.”
Officials said a volunteer aide selected the songs to represent Palestinian people, but added she “feels terrible she made a mistake” and has stepped down.
“The children did not understand this song as their command of Arabic is not advanced,” the statement said. The speech, it said, “was likewise 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.”