(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/31/10) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today urged President Obama to condemn what the Muslim civil rights group called an Israeli “massacre” of civilians on a flotilla of ships in international waters seeking to bring humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip. Israeli commandos killed at least 10 civilians in a pre-dawn raid on the flotilla.
Israel’s attack on the flotilla has already been condemned by the international community.
A number of Americans, including former Ambassador Edward L. Peck, are among those taking part in the humanitarian aid effort. Other passengers include Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland. The nationalities of the dead are not yet known.
On Friday, CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter (CAIR-SFBA) expressed concern for the safety of three local residents aboard the flotilla.
In a statement, United Nations officials said: “We wish to make clear that such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.”
“It is imperative that President Obama not only speak out strongly against this massacre of civilians but also demonstrate our nation’s outrage at Israel’s brutal actions by taking concrete steps to end the humanitarian siege imposed on Gaza with America’s support,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Our nation must now work to end the inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza.”
Awad also urged the president to live up to his statement one year ago in Cairo in which he said that America will not turn its back on “the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.