Rabbi Shalom Lewis is a cleric at the Congregation Etz Chaim synagogue in Marietta, Georgia. Etz Chaim’s website states Lewis “generates a caring warmth”, but his hateful speech about Islam is alarming and barbaric.
In October 2014, Lewis sermonized that Muslims “are here” and a “holy crusade” to “exterminate [Islam] utterly and absolutely” is required.
Lewis attempts to make his bigotry more approachable by noting radical Islam makes up a small percentage of the faith and even claims he analyzed every word of the sermon, questioning if he “was treading into bigotry.” Trying to draw parallels between Islam and historically evil forces, Lewis asserts “Most Nazis were not Germans – but it did not matter. Most Russians were not Stalinists – but it did not matter. Most Muslims are not terrorists – but it does not matter.” Lewis conceals a call for genocide against over 1 billion Muslims as a rational fight against evil.
Other notably hateful remarks from Lewis’ sermon include:
- “There are one billion Muslims in the world and authorities agree that 5% are committed Islamists who embrace terror and wish to see, by any means possible, the Muslim flag fly over every capital, on every continent. […] 5% of a billion is… 50 million Koran-waving, Allah Akbar-howling Muslim murderers out there planning to slit our throats, blow us up or forcibly convert us.”
- “Europe is being flooded not by freedom loving, tolerant, assimilating Muslims who wish to share in Western freedom, in Western tolerance, in Western culture but rather by violent Islamists, extremists who reject every value we treasure.”
- “The sun never set on the British Empire, but now there is a cold darkness settling on Europe. A nihilism. A corruption. A perversion in the name of Allah.”
- “The enemy has eyes and ears. Fingers and toes. Speaks with lips. Runs with legs. Eats. Drinks. Has the face of a human being – but, has a much different heart and a much different soul.”
Lewis’ prelude to his 2014 remarks was a sermon in 2010 iterating that the Muslims “[were] coming,” and communities should fear their arrival. After describing radical Islam as “a bacteria”, Lewis suggested all Muslims must be killed to prevent its spread: “It is amoral, has no conscience and will spread unless it is eradicated. – There is no negotiating. Appeasement is death”.
In 2003, Lewis received commendations from the as “a positive influence on the youth of [Cobb County, Georgia].”. Lewis’ Islamophobia is especially dangerous because his accolades provide his bigotry a platform for legitimacy.