White House scrambles to distance itself from Islamic group after leader's praise for Hamas' Oct 7th slaughter

FIRST ON FOX: The White House is scrambling to distance itself from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after its leader appeared to say that he was “happy” to see Palestinians in Gaza “break the siege” during Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attack against Israel.

Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, is seen making the comments in a video making its rounds on social media.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp on Oct. 7,” Awad says in the video, which quickly went viral on social media. “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 that 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,” he added. “And yes, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.”

After being contacted regarding the comments, a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital they are removing the group from its publicly listed pledge to fight antisemitism.

white house scrambles to distance itself from islamic group after leader's praise for hamas' oct 7th slaughter

Palestinian Hamas terrorists are seen during a military show in the Bani Suheila district in 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The White House spokesperson said CAIR was “one of several independent organizations” listed in a supplemental document regarding the efforts and that the White House is “removing their commitment” from the record.

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More than six months after the announcement, Awad appeared at an American Muslims for Palestine event on Nov. 24 and made the controversial comments that led to the White House removing the group from its supplemental document on combating antisemitism.

CAIR DIRECTOR SAYS HE WAS ‘HAPPY’ TO WITNESS OCT. 7 ATTACKS, ISRAEL ‘DOES NOT HAVE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE’

white house scrambles to distance itself from islamic group after leader's praise for hamas' oct 7th slaughter

Members Hamas display rockets during a military parade on the Streets in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip. Photo by Yousef Masoud/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a lengthy statement to Fox News Digital, Awad said his comments were taken out of context by an “anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian hate website.”

“During my remarks last week at a conference in support of Palestinian human rights, I condemned violence against all civilians and all forms of bigotry, specifically including Islamophobia and antisemitism,” Awad said in the statement.

“Despite this, an anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian hate website selected remarks from my speech out of context and spliced them together to create a completely false meaning,” he added.

“What I actually said while discussing international law: Ukrainians, Palestinians and other occupied people have the right to defend themselves and escape occupation by just and legal means, but targeting civilians is never an acceptable means of doing so, which is why I have again and again condemned the violence against Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 and past Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings, all the way back to the 1990s—just as I have condemned the decades of violence against Palestinian civilians.”

“The average Palestinians who briefly walked out of Gaza and set foot on their ethnically cleansed land in a symbolic act of defiance against the blockade and stopped there without engaging in violence were within their rights under international law; the extremists who went on to attack civilians in southern Israel were not,” he continued. “Targeting civilians is unacceptable, no matter whether they are Israeli or Palestinian or any other nationality.”

Original article source: White House scrambles to distance itself from Islamic group after leader’s praise for Hamas’ Oct 7th slaughter

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