(Chicago, IL 7/20/2006) – The Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the current escalations in the Middle East:
“The whole world is watching, with total dismay and shock, the barbaric destruction of Lebanon by Israel. It is a shame as well a crime that such destruction is happening with the political and financial support of our government.
Such blind support is leading to a growing resentment against America at a time when we are trying to win the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East and the Muslim World.
Lebanon is the Arab World’s most diverse, cosmopolitan, democratic, and friendly country to America. Lebanese people are asking: why has America allowed Israel to conduct what they describe as their “9-11 attacks” on their country? Israel is conducting an illegal and immoral collective punishment campaign against the innocent civilians of Lebanon and Palestine. Israel’s campaign has killed close to 400 civilians in Lebanon and 100 in Palestine. Israel has destroyed much of Lebanon and Palestine’s civilian infrastructure, from bridges, to power plants, to water stations, to the airport, homes, and villages. 500,000 civilians have been displaced; a humanitarian crisis is in the making.
There are 25,000 U.S. citizens in Lebanon, many of them of Arab or Muslim descent. The sluggish evacuation process has left them feeling that their country has abandoned them in order to not upset Israel and its powerful lobby in the U.S.
The unwillingness to call for a ceasefire gives the impression that the administration places less value on the lives of American citizens of Arab descent and Islamic faith and are therefore not worthy of protection from Israeli state terrorism.
This administration should have one standard regarding the value of life and one definition of terrorism.
We call on the Bush administration to exert our government’s leverage on Israel and demand an immediate and complete cessation of fire and the push for a political solution to this conflict. We ask the US government to provide the Lebanese people with the necessary humanitarian aid.
We call for a quick and organized effort to evacuate all US citizens and their families from Lebanon.
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CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director (847) 971-3963