North Jersey Reports: The Republican candidate seeking Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.’s seat in Congress produced what he says are anti-Israel statements uttered by a cleric leading one of the state’s largest mosques, whom the congressman has supported in his fight against deportation. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach released English translations of mosque lectures in Arabic by Mohammed Qatanani, imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, which he contends contain anti-Israel messages.
He called on Qatanani, a Palestinian, to explain the statements. If he will not, he challenged Pascrell to disavow the imam, who federal prosecutors assert is affiliated with Hamas.
The government is attempting to overturn the permanent resident status the cleric won in immigration court in 2008 and have him deported.
Boteach, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and GOP candidate in the 9th District, said the popular imam is “a problem I can no longer ignore.”
He said he has tried to reach Qatanani, who has been praised by Pascrell and Governor Christie for his mosque’s cooperation with law enforcement after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The imam has not responded, Boteach said.
“He must explain them [the statement], say he never said them, say they were translated wrong,” Boteach said. “And he must condemn Hamas.”