Several Democratic members of Congress have a long history of public support for the organization whose leader recently sparked a firestorm over controversial comments about Hamas's deadly attacks on Israeli citizens.
Nihad Awad, executive director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), recently said he was “glad to see” Hamas' invasion of Israel on October 7, and said the Jewish state had no right to do so. He said he had no right to do so. It's self-defense because it's an “occupation force.”
“The people of Gaza simply decided to break through the walls of the concentration camp on October 7,” Awad said at the 16th Annual Palestine Conference in the United States on November 24. Watch as people break the siege, throw off the shackles of their land, and walk freely into their lands where they have never been free to walk. ”
He added: “And certainly, the people of Gaza have a right to self-defense. They have a right to defend themselves. And certainly, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.” Ta.
White House accelerates distance from Islamic group after leader praises Hamas' October 7 massacre
Awad's comments forced the White House to hastily remove CAIR from its website as a dedicated partner in fighting anti-Semitism. The White House press secretary also strongly rebuked his comments in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“We condemn in the strongest terms these shocking anti-Semitic statements,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “The horrific and brutal terrorist attack carried out by Hamas on October 7th was, as President Biden has said, 'abominable' and epitomized 'pure evil.'
Meanwhile, dozens of federal lawmakers across the country have so far expressed support for CAIR, as featured on the organization's website, citing the horrors that left 1,200 people dead and others captured. When asked by FOX News Digital about the co-founder's stance on the attacks, some lawmakers remained silent. .
Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema, who is up for re-election in the 2024 election cycle, has previously praised CAIR's work as “advocating for a more just society,” and has received praise from former CAIR directors and committee chairs. He received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Arizona chapter of the group.
“I applaud the Council's dedication to our country's democratic values and your efforts to advocate for a more just society,” Sinema said in November 2019, before changing his party affiliation from Democratic Party to Independent. .
According to Federal Election Commission filings, the independent senator received $2,500 from Deidre Aboud, former director of CAIR's Arizona chapter, $250 from Manan Abdul Mohamed, former vice chair of the chapter, and $250 from CAIR's former vice president, Manan Abdul Mohamed. It is shown that he has received donations of $100 over the years from
Sinema did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment on whether it supports Awad's comments about Israel and praising the group.
The Chairperson said he was “pleased” to testify in October. 7 attacks; Israel has no right to self-defense
“This organization's inspiring service is a testament to your success in creating a nurturing, supportive, and responsive organization,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), who is currently facing bribery charges. ” he said.
Mr. Menendez also did not respond when asked about CAIR's position on the Israel-Hamas war.
As stated on CAIR's website, in 2019, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called the group “empowering Muslims across America in political and social action through our country.” praised.
Brown, who is defending one of Democrats' most vulnerable Senate seats in 2024, condemned CAIR's latest comments on the Middle East conflict.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms these anti-Semitic statements and those who seek to excuse Hamas' killing of innocent civilians,” Brown told Fox News Digital. Ta. “I strongly support Israel's right to defend itself and will continue to support the Israeli people in their fight against Hamas terrorism.”
In 2018, more than 100 members of Congress, including then-Senate Vice President Kamala Harris, wrote individual letters of appreciation to CAIR, congratulating CAIR on more than 20 years of work.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Mich., told CAIR in 2018, “I am grateful for all that you are doing to protect justice and civil liberties in our state and across our country. Now more than ever, it is important to continue the fight for public debate.” and citizen participation. ”
But Baldwin also told Fox News Digital that he condemned CAIR's “blatant anti-Semitic comments.”
“There is no choice about this. Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel was absolutely horrific. Innocent Israelis were massacred, hundreds of civilians were kidnapped, and now countless 's families are saddened and horrified. I unequivocally condemn these blatantly anti-Semitic comments.''These comments have caused me to completely lose faith in the organization and its work. became. ”
Far-left members of “The Squad” have long expressed support for the group.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is running for Congress, wrote in a letter that CAIR “has played an important role in helping move America forward.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, gave a controversial speech at a fundraiser for the organization in 2019 before being named CAIR's 2021 American Muslim Public Official of the Year. .
CAIR was founded in 1994, and Omar said in a speech that the group “recognizes that some people did something and that we are all starting to lose access to civil liberties. “It was established after 9/11 because of this recognition.”
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Democrats received immediate backlash for the comment that “some people did something,” with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel calling it a “brazen display of contempt.”
FOX News' Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.