Indonesian-American Imam Mohamad Joban of Masjid Ar-Rahmah in Redmond, WA delivered a lecture focusing on a Quranic story of a town of Jews who were transformed into apes by Allah for having rebelled against Him by setting fishing nets on Friday, before the Sabbath, and collecting the fish on Sunday. He said that this story was never exposed because the Jews cover up bad stories about themselves and always pretend to be pious. Laughing, he told how the Jews who had been transformed into apes cried because they couldn’t recognize one another as apes. Then Imam Joban said that in another verse, the violators were transformed into pigs. He discussed the question whether the transformed Jews had offspring and said that there are two views about this. However, he mentioned two cases, from Egypt and Malaysia, where newborns looked like descendants of apes and pigs. Imam Joban and his congregation chanted from the Quran responsively: “When [the Jews] rebelled against the commands to refrain, [Allah] said to them, ‘Be despicable apes’…” Imam Joban is a full-time Imam at Masjid Ar-Rahmah, which belongs to the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS). The lecture was uploaded to the MAPS Redmond YouTube channel on December 17, 2019.
Every year during Ramadhan, MAPS Redmond hosts an Annual Interfaith Iftar event. These events have been attended by high-profile local, state, and federal government officials. These officials have included, but are not limited to, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brad Deardorff, U.S. Rep. Roger Goodman (D-WA), officials from the offices of congressmen Rep. Dave Reichert (R) and Rep. Adam Smith (D), members of the Washington State Senate such as Bob Hasegawa, representatives from the office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, the Mayor of the City of Bellevue, WA, officials from King County, WA, and members from the Seattle Jewish and Christian communities. In 2003, Imam Joban led a prayer at the Washington State House of Representatives. Imam Joban has previously served as the Imam of the Islamic Center of Olympia, in Olympia, WA.