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Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), recently declared that the October 7th Hamas attack against Israel was a source of “inspiration” and that he was “happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land.”
Awad’s remarks were delivered at an Americans for Muslims for Palestine (AMP) convention in Chicago, Illinois, on November 24th. A full recording was published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Referring to Hamas’ brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent Israeli men, women, and children of all ages, and its kidnapping of 240 more, Awad said, “The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp, on October 7th. And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, which they were not allowed to walk in. And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense, have the right to defend themselves, and yes, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.”
“Gaza became the liberation source, the inspiration for people,” he asserted. “Gaza transformed many minds around the world, including people who are not Muslim.” What kind of faith do these people have? They are thankful, they are not afraid.”
“What kind of faith do these people have? They are thankful, they are not afraid,” Awad said of the perpetrators of the October 7th attack. “Israel did not scare them, because they knew their heaven is in Gaza, and if they would like to die, they will go to another heaven.”
“That is the faith of the people of Gaza,” he added. “That is why Gaza and the people of Gaza were able to transform everyone who is watching — they have learned from these people. Those who felt bad for Gaza — they don’t understand the equation. Those who thought that Gazans are less than those who can help them, they are mistaken. They are mistaken. The Gazans were victorious.”
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad at AMP Convention: I Was Happy to See the People of Gaza Break the Siege on October 7; They Were Victorious; the People of Gaza Have the Right to Self-Defense – Israel Does Not #Hamas #Gaza #Palestinians @CAIRNational @NihadAwad pic.twitter.com/WDbSRjFJo0
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 7, 2023
Combat Antisemitism Movement CEO Sacha Roytman commented on Thursday, “As if any further evidence was needed, Nihad Awad’s praise of the worst act of violence targeting Jews since the Holocaust proves once and again that CAIR is a leading propagator of antisemitic incitement in the United States. I urge all government, media, and faith leaders to take note: CAIR’s agenda and values lie far outside the mainstream of American society, and it must be ostracized across the political and ideological spectrum as a dangerous extremist organization driven by hatred of Jews.”
Awad has a long and notorious track record of antisemitic rhetoric. In October 2014, for example, he claimed that the United States would only recognize a Palestinian state when “America, itself, is free from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby.”
Zahra Billoo, head of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area office, gave a vociferously antisemitic address at an AMP convention in December 2021. In her speech, Billoo used bigoted and threatening rhetoric that typifies contemporary Islamist Jew-hatred.
Attacking American Jewish communal organizations, Billoo said, “When we talk about Islamophobia, we think oftentimes about the vehement fascists. But I also want us to pay attention to the polite Zionists. The ones that say, ‘Let’s just break bread together.’”
“We need to pay attention to the Anti-Defamation League,” she added. “We need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation. We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues. We need to pay attention to the Hillel chapters on our campuses, because just because they’re your friend today doesn’t mean that they have your back when it comes to human rights. So oppose the vehement fascists, but oppose the polite Zionists, too. They are not your friends.”