What Did the Imam Really Say at the Vatican?

In two different posts yesterday we discussed “Imamgate” — the prayer said by an imam invited to the Vatican for an interfaith event promoting peace in the Middle East. The imam strayed from the (non-Arabic) script that was sent to the Vatican in advance, and was alleged to have called for Allah to grant victory over the unbelievers when he made his prayer and added his own remarks.

I don’t understand Arabic any better than the Pope does, so I can’t vouch for which account of his words is true. However, I consider it important to get an independent opinion whenever possible, so for the sake of accuracy I asked our Russian correspondent Russkiy — who understands Arabic — to listen to the imam’s prayer at the Vatican and tell us what he heard.

His account does not support the version published by kath.net. Here’s what Russkiy has to say:

I would like to point out that I don’t think the Imam said anything controversial. He definitely did not say to grant victory to Muslims over non-believers. He mixed verses from the Quran with his own words.

He was singing out the verses from the Quran, and his own words were at the end when he was just talking. I couldn’t match it exactly to what Sura he was reading, but what he was reading didn’t match the last two verses from Sura Baqara, which does in fact say to grant Muslims victory over non-believers.

In his own words in the end he asked god to assist those in the state of weakness. He said intasar al mustaDaafin fil ArD ya rab al alamin wa salam ala mursalin (انتصر المستضعفين في الارض يا رب العالمين و سلام على مرسلين) [Note from the Baron: I could not get the Arabic script to come out consistently right in this post’s text, so I made an image of it, which I believe accurately reflects what Russkiy sent], which means assist people in the state of weakness in the land oh Lord of the worlds and peace be upon messengers.

I searched the phrase “intasar al mustaDaafin” or “assist people in the state of weakness” and found that Muslim Arabs use it often in their prayer for either Palestinians or Mujahidin who are fighting against “oppressors”. Possibly the Imam’s intention was precisely that, but he did not literally ask Allah to assist Muslims over non-believers.

If anyone else understands the Arabic in that video, and hears something at variance from the above, feel free to leave your translation in the comments.

18 thoughts on “What Did the Imam Really Say at the Vatican?

  1. Baron, in the bigger picture, what that Iman uttered within Vatican precincts has little bearing on the overall dhimmi and acquiescent behaviour by the leader of the Catholic Church and his merry band of dhimmis toward a totalitarian/supremacist ideology that is intent on conquering such appeasing and naïve stupidity.

    One could almost cite the Pope for treachery in the undermining of the very establishment he is in a position to protect. These are dangerous times indeed when the Pope cannot or refuses to recognize Islam as Christianity’s mortal enemy.

    • Nemesis —

      Yes, I agree. But absolute probity in what we do here is important. Whenever it turns out that something I posted earlier is incorrect, I post the new information, and let the chips fall where they may.

      Our political culture and media are lined up against us. Any failure to be thorough and accurate discredits us. I do my best to guard against that.

      • You were accurate! Don’ t blame yourself! These bastards have cut out the controversial last half verse from imam’s recitation in the clip. I heard the full version of it with my own two ears two days ago on All Arabiyah channel website and he did recite the verse till the end where it DOESE say : ” grant us victory over the tribe of unbelievers.” What they have done here is pure and simple censorships, deception and rewriting of history. Pay attention to the clip. They cut his recitation in the middle of the last verse! Who recites Quran while reciting a verse only half way trough?! They want to throw us off track and confuse us. Your original report was 100% correct! You have noting to correct. Only now you can also report that these bastards have censored the original footage to save themselves from the embarrassment of being mocked and outwitted by an Imam. That’s all! Don’t fall for it. And the fact that they had to censor the original footage shows that despite their original denials they recognized the damage and the legitimacy of those reports which pointed it out!

  2. I do understand Quranic Arabic very well. I also know Quran itself rather well. I am an ex- muslim. This link that you have posted is cut! The full recitation of Quran by this imam that I watched on Al Arabiya chanal two days ago had his recitation till the last verses and without a shadow of a doubt he recited the 2nd sura Al Bagharah’s last few verses till the very end where he does recite ” And pardon us and forgive us and have mercy on us, you are our guardian, so make us victorious over the tribe of disbelievers ( or deniers as the word Kafir really means)”.

    Now the question is who chopped this link to take out the controversial part out of it. It is cut literally in the middle of the verse where the controversial part starts and jumps to the imam’s prayer in his own words which are not controvercial. You can recognize the end of recitation and beginning of his own prayer by the fact that he stopped singing and start speaking normally. If you pay attention you will notice that the place was cut. It is noticeable. They kept his recitation until the end of the of ” forgive us and have med y on us.” But the last two sentences ” you are our guardian, so grant us victory over unbelievers” was neatly in very stalinesque fashion airbrushed out! Cunning bastards! That is why your Russian translator didn’t hear anything contraversial. But he can go check his Quran and see that up till the last two sentences which are missing everything before it is sura2 last verses. Now you want to tell me he just left out the last half verse from his recitation?! Of course not! They are counting on people’s ignorance of Arabic and quraniccontent

    • Who, in your opinion, would have cut the part?
      The Vatican film makers?

      (disclaimer) From what I have seen of this pope so far, I really really do not like him.

        • Hi Dymphna. I am actually more than disappointed, I am quite angry at this show-pony Pope who, in my opinion, is doing quite a lot of damage to Western values. He doesn’t seem to care very much for Christians or Jews. I will give the benefit of the doubt to Pope Pius XII (I think?), perhaps he could do no more for the Jews during WWII and perhaps he was not an anti-semite as some say, but Pope Francis, had he lived during the Nazi times would have collaborated, as he does now. Just like Obama, he is neither “naive” nor “innocent”, in my opinion.

  3. I would interpret his prayer as being for Christians who are truly in a state of weakness against the brutality of the Ummah in several parts of the world.

  4. Barron you were correct in your assesment of the meaning of انتصر as to be victorious. Raymond P Scheindlin Ph.D would concer with you. He defines it as such, ” to come to someone’s aid, or “to be victorious”. It is based on form VIII of the root نصر . If you look at the phrase “in war no one wins” where ينتصر is used. In this case it is clearly used to mean to “win or be victorious”. I personally think you were right, but like much in Arabic that has double meaning the argument could be made that the Iman meant it as “aid”

  5. Baron you were correct in you assesment as to the meaning. Raymond P. Scheindlin, Ph.D. Would concur with you when he says, in his work, “to come to someone’s aid, or be victorious.” The root of this verb is a form VIII of نصر . It is used in the phrase “في الحروب لايتنصر احدا ” (in war, no one wins). Where ينتصر means “some one wins”. The way the Imam read, it could be understood as “to come to the aid and to help win.” But there is enough ambiguity to claim that it meant just “aid”.

  6. “فنصرناعلی القوم الکافرین” without a shadow of a doubt means make us VICTORIOUS over the Kaferin or unbelievers or deniers! Please don’t try to create clouds and doubts where there are non. It is not ambiguous at all.

    Here is the translation from quran.com: “You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” sura 2 aya 286

    It is asking Allah to give the Muslims victory in WARS that they had against pagan Arabs. This is the context. So even if one wants to split hairs and translate it “help”, help in what??? In the war against the Kaferin or unbelievers. In the armed conflicts that Muslims had with virtually all the non-Muslims around them. The context matters. Beside the word Nasr نصر in and of itself means triumph, means victory. Check your dictionary. There is no doubts about it.

    When the Quran says “make us have Nasr نصر over the tribe of Kaferin” it doesn’t mean anything other than “Help us vanquish the tribe of unbelievers” They where in war, you know! All these hair splitting and stuff are unnecessary. The verse was inappropriate for an ecumenical peace prayer occasion like the one in Vatican and what was worse was the fact that the Imam went off script to recite it. It sounds very sly and devious. On top of that the fact that they felt necessary to censor it and cut it out of the footage is testimony to the fact that they know that it was damaging and that we were right to complain about it.

  7. Ritamalik, yes I agree with you and did not mean to cloud. For me as also you, it is cristal clear, that is why I referenced the form Nasr, which as you correctly note means victory. In this case there can be no other meaning. I mentioned “to aid” not to contradict it. in the case of “to aid” it is implied to “aid for victory”.

  8. If indeed his intentions were nefarious, it is unfortunate that he would not use this opportunity to be truly seeking peace. I give the Pope proper respects for attempting, like St. John Paul II, to bring peace to the world. We are always dependent upon man’s free will; alas.

  9. Sorry to bother again: Who is this Imam? Name? Why does the Holy See does not release his name?

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