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Muslim Leaders' Sit-In Sends Message to State Dept

U.S. Muslim Leaders' Sit-In Sends Message to State Department

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful



Islamic groups say uncritical support for Israel harms American national interests

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/5/2001) - Leaders of prominent national Muslim organizations* today staged a first-of-its-kind act of civil disobedience outside the State Department in Washington, D.C., to protest America's uncritical support for Israel's "Apartheid-like" policies against the Palestinian people. (No arrests were made.)

Follow-up events are being scheduled outside both the State Department and the White House. "We will keep reminding our government officials that their uncritical support for Israel has compromised America's interests and damaged its reputation worldwide," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, who took part in the sit-in.

A statement released at a news conference, attended by many national and international media outlets, just prior to the sit-in read in part:

"We, the undersigned national American Muslim organizations, are compelled to carry out this act of civil disobedience because of our country's continuing and uncritical support for Israel's immoral, illegal and unjust policies toward Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

"These brutal policies include sieges of Palestinian towns and villages, political assassinations, forced expulsions, home demolitions, land confiscation, discrimination, humiliation, harassment, torture, ethnic segregation, and denial of basic human and religious liberties.

"As Americans, we opposed these same policies when they were imposed on the people of South Africa, Kosova, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, East Timor, and in many other areas of the world. Why is it that the Palestinians are the only people on earth who deserve to live in an Apartheid-like state of perpetual occupation and humiliation?...

"...The U.S. has indicated consistently that achieving peace in the region is a priority and a matter of national interest. That peace can only be achieved with justice. U.S. interests will be served and our credibility enhanced when we accept the role of a true honest broker and impose a level of responsibility on Israel consistent with the billions of American taxpayer-funded aid Israel receives per year.

"Before there can be any lasting peace in the region, America must finally come to terms with the real sources of violence, namely: 1) The brutal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, 2) The continued expansion of settlements, 3) The denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees, 4) The billions of American taxpayer dollars that help finance Israel's occupation. Any other course of action is a recipe for unending strife and instability."

The statement also called on the Bush administration to publicly condemn Israeli aggression, stop using America's veto power in the U.N. to support illegal Israeli actions, seek an immediate cut off of all military aid to Israel in accordance with the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, call for an international force to protect civilians in Palestine, and to meet with American Muslim leaders so that they can participate in shaping policy toward the Islamic world.

* Signatories included: American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), American Muslim Council (AMC), Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), Muslim American Society (MAS)

There are an estimated seven million Muslims in American and some 1.2 billion worldwide. SEE:

- END -

CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper at 202-488-8787 or 202-489-5108. E-Mail:


CAIR Council on American-Islamic Relations 453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003 Tel: 202-488-8787 Fax: 202-488-0833 E-mail: URL:

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