CAIR Co-Founder Accuses Critics of Misquoting Him

( – The White House last Thursday was forced to disavow the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after video footage of the group’s co-founder emerged showing him celebrating the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, the New York Times reported.

In remarks last month, CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said he was “happy to see” the Palestinian people break free of Gaza on October 7 and declared that Gazans have a “right to self-defense” but Israel, “as an occupying power,” does not.

In a statement on Thursday, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said the White House condemned Awad’s “shocking” and “antisemitic” comments “in the strongest terms.” Bates reaffirmed that President Biden believed that the October 7 attacks were “abhorrent” and “unadulterated evil,” and said that the brutalities committed on that day “shock the conscience.”

Awad made the remarks at a gathering of American Muslims in support of Palestine late last month. But video footage of some of his comments went viral last week after being posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In a statement last Thursday, Awad defended his comments, arguing that his remarks were taken out of context by what he described as “an anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian hate website” that sought to distort the meaning of his words.

Awad said in portions of his remarks that were not included in the footage, he denounced antisemitism as being “a real evil” that must be “rejected and combatted by all people.” He argued that his comments featured in the video were referring to the Palestinians who crossed into Israel but did not engage in violence.

He claimed those Palestinians who “briefly walked out of Gaza and set foot on their ethnically cleansed land” engaged in a “symbolic act of defiance” against Israel’s “blockade” without “engaging in violence” were exercising their rights “under international law” while the Palestinians who attacked civilians “were not.”

Awad insisted that the targeting of civilians was “unacceptable” whether they are Palestinians or Israelis “or any other nationality.”

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