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Imam Fawaz Damra
Society and Community:
Controversy in Cleveland
More on This Story:
Imam Damra's History

Fawaz Damra was born in the West Bank town of Nablus in 1961, studied Islamic law in Jordan, and has been an active religious figure in the Muslim American community since coming to the United States in the mid-1980s. After serving as imam, or spiritual leader, at the al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn, NY, from 1986 to 1990, he moved to Cleveland, where he has headed northeastern Ohio's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland, since 1991. He is now the center of a controversy about faith, trust and the aftermath of September 11.

Fawaz Damra
Imam Fawaz Damra

""[Muslims should be] directing all rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation, and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews." Fawaz Damra, 1991

"I regret saying what I said in that tape because that is not what my faith teaches me, not what civilized society stands for." Fawaz Damra, 2001

Transcript Read complete transcript

Over the last decade, Damra has been lauded for his outreach efforts to the Jewish and Christian communities in and around Cleveland, and he was popularly viewed as a moderate Muslim. His efforts to engender tolerance and promote interfaith understanding after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks earned praise from religious and civic leaders.

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