Islamic Civil Rights Group Seeks Unconditional Cease-Fire, Humanitarian Aid
WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire/ — A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today said the Bush administration and the international community must act to stop Israel’s campaign of “terror” in Southern Lebanon.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued that call after an Israeli air strike killed at least 57 civilians in the town of Qana, the site of a similar massacre of civilians by Israel a decade ago. (In 1996, an Israeli air strike on a United Nations compound in Qana killed more than 100 civilians who had sought shelter there.) Lebanese officials said the majority of the dead in today’s attack were children. Hundreds of Lebanese civilians have been killed in previous Israeli attacks.
CAIR said the charge of state terrorism was based on statements by Israeli officials that they intend to make the civilian population of Lebanon suffer in order to put pressure on Hezbollah. Israel’s chief of staff threatened to “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years.”
Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon declared last week that, “Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is connected to Hezbollah.” Israel has in the past reserved the right to kill anyone it considers a “terrorist” or terrorist supporter.
Israel’s most popular newspaper also supported acting without military restraint in Lebanon. It said, “In other words: a village from which rockets are fired at Israel will simply be destroyed by fire.”
Along with the indiscriminate killing of civilians and the systematic destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon, Israel has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in Southern Lebanon.
“Whenever civilians are attacked to achieve a political goal, the charge of terrorism must be applied, whether the terrorist is an individual, a group or a state,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Our government must end it support for Israel’s campaign of terror in Lebanon and join an international effort to protect and bring humanitarian aid to the civilian population of that devastated nation.”
He said support for Israeli terror is causing irreparable damage to America’s credibility and interests worldwide.
Hooper also said President Bush should demand an immediate and unconditional cease-fire, end American arms shipments to Israel and actively support a comprehensive and just resolution to the Middle East conflict.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist’s window to the Muslim community. To subscribe to ISLAM-INFONET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet/
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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