The prominent Muslim preacher, Mufti Ismail Menk, has stoked controversy yet again after a viral video showed him breaking fast with a prominent Zionist rabbi who facilitated Israeli presence in the UAE.
According to Al Jazeera, the iftar event took place on Tuesday and was attended by different religious sects including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Coptic Christians.
It was organised by the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, and aimed to promote moderation and tolerance.
إفطار جماعي لطوائف ومذاهب متنوعة بدبي
— صحيفة الاتحاد (@aletihadae) April 10, 2022
A video published by the Al-Ittihad newspaper on Twitter showed Mufti Menk sitting on the same table as Rabbi Levi Duchman, who is the chief rabbi of the United Arab Emirates. Over the past few years, Rabbi Duchman has liaised closely with top Israeli officials who have visited the UAE and facilitated warm relations between the two countries.
Mufti Menk released a video response stating that he was unaware of who Rabbi Duchman was, and that the entire incident was misrepresented by “mischief makers trying to push agendas”. In a second clarification video, the celebrity preacher apologised to Palestinians, Kashmiris and Muslims who felt “betrayed” by his unintended actions, adding that he would not have attended the iftar event if he knew who Rabbi Duchman was.
In September 2020 Israel and the UAE signed an agreement to normalise relations known as the ‘Abraham Accords’. Since then, ambassadors have been exchanged, direct flights between the two countries have been launched and many bilateral agreements have been signed.
The Palestinians condemned the move calling it “a stab in the back.”
This is the second time in a year that Mufti Menk has angered Muslims around the world.
Last October, during a private visit to Indian-occupied Kashmir he performed the nikah of pro-Indian politician, Yawar Mir.
A video that went viral on social media showed Mufti Menk in Srinagar performing Yawar Mir’s nikah and giving a subsequent khutba, while seated with a group pro-Indian politicians.
Mufti Menk’s office in Zimbabwe told Kashmiri media that he was unaware of the “finer details” of the political situation in Kashmir.