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Imam Muhammad al-Asi (Arabic: محمّد العاصي) is the imam who formerly led prayer at the Islamic Center of Washington, and currently spends most of his time teaching and working on the first Quranic exegesis to be written originally in English. Al-Asi was elected as the Imam of the masjid in 1981. In March 1983, al-Asi was expelled from the center for preaching views that were deemed antithetical to the Saudi establishment. Although he still identifies himself as Imam of the Islamic Center, the Center has stated that it has no affiliation with him. He still holds Jumu'ah khutbahs  every Friday on the sidewalk in front of the Islamic Center.
Muhammad al-Asi was born in Grand Rapids, MI in 1951. At the age of 11 he moved to Lebanon. There, he completed high school and attended the Arab University of Beirut, where he intensively studied the Arabic language. In 1973, al-Asi returned to the U.S. and attended the University of Maryland, graduating with a degree in Government and Politics in 1979.
Al-Asi is active in the global Islamic movement, most notably through his involvement with the Crescent International news magazine. He frequently speaks at universities across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
US Government and 9/11
On September 10, 2006, in an interview on Iranian Channel 2 (as translated by the MEMRI), al-Asi stated that attacks of 9/11 were planned by the United State Government. Specifically, al-Asi stated that "The events of 9/11 were planned by the American administration, to be used as a pretext and justification to fight terrorism."
Al-Asi had also stated in reference to the first Gulf War, "if Americans are placing their forces in the Persian Gulf, we should be creating another war front for the Americans in the Muslim world - specifically where American interests are concentrated."
Opinion of Israel
In an undated article, entitled "The Qur'an says: Zionist Israel will be shattered," posted on the website Muslimedia.com, a publication of Crescent International, al-Asi wrote that "the Israeli Zionists have convinced themselves that their presence in Palestine is permanent. They have even managed to deceive world public opinion into believing this myth. The brainwashing that has gone into this effort is phenomenal… To bolster their argument, they tell us indefatigably that the Jews are politically as strong as ever because they are in virtual command and control of the American and Russian administrations; not to mention their political and foreign policy clout in the European continent."
Regarding the Israeli lobby, an article in the Arab American News quotes al-Asi as stating that "Very rarely we have American officials who can say no to the 700 pound gorilla on Capitol Hill that is the Israeli lobby. Many of us are wrong when we think that the U.S. government has the flexibility to adjust to the new reality. It doesn't have the flexibility when it has the toxins of the Israeli lobby in its bone marrow."
Online Videos of Speeches
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has posted a video clip of al-Asi giving the following speech at UC-Irvine on February 21, 2001:
We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the Jew, and this has been demonstrated time and time again in Occupied Palestine. And now they have American diplomats and politicians and decision makers and strategists in their pocket....
The Investigative Project has posted another video clip from a speech by al-Asi at UC-Irvine on May 15, 2002, in which he states:
If the only thing the Israelis and their mentors, and their sponsors, and their superiors in Washington DC, are going to understand is the use of force, then that's the language we're going to communicate with, we're going to use force, and whatever was taken by force can only be retrieved by force.
Travel to Iran
Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Asi publicly expressed his support for the Islamic Republic and its leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Since the early 1980s he made several visits to Iran as a representative of Muslims in the United States and a supporter of the Islamic revival.
In February 2013 Imam Asi attended the International Conference on Hollywoodism and spoke out on Muslims portrait in Hollywood.
Speeches at UC-Irvine
The Investigative Project on Terrorism quotes al-Asi as giving the following speech to the Muslim Students Association at UC-Irvine on February 21, 2001:
"You have the Jews who are blind and deaf and dumb, who cannot see the same forms of racism, or discrimination, of oppression that is institutionalized and implemented by one of their own; and that is the Israeli, Zionist government in Tel Aviv" 
The Investigative Project on Terrorism quotes al-Asi as giving the following speech during "Israel Awareness Week" at UC-Irvine on May 18, 2005:
It is about time we begin to open our eyes, see for ourselves and identify this cancerous presence of the Israeli interest that has taken over the American body politic.
- Islamic head blasts U.S. ties to Israel
- Imam Muhammad al-Asi's website
- "Special Dispatch Series No. 1287". MEMRI. September 13, 2006.
- "The Qur'an says: Zionist Israel will be shattered". Muslimedia.
- "Community gathers to remember Khomeini". The Arab American News.
- "Muhammad al-Asi - Ghetto Jews". Investigative Project on Terrorism. February 21, 2001.
- "Al-Asi: "We're going to use force"". The Investigative Project on Terrorism. May 15, 2002.
- "Muslim Students Association -Dossier, p.26" (PDF). Investigative Project on Terrorism.
- "Muslim Students Association -Dossier, p.27" (PDF). Investigative Project on Terrorism.