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CAIR director says he was ‘happy’ to witness Oct. 7 attacks, Israel ‘does not have right to self-defense’

One of the top executives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said he was “happy” to witness the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

Nihad Awad, executive director and co-founder of CAIR, expressed his feelings on the terrorist attack at the 16th Annual Convention for Palestine in the U.S. on Nov. 24.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on Oct. 7,” said Awad. “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 free to walk in.”

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He continued, “And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense — have the right to defend themselves. And yes, Israel as an occupying power does not have that right to self-defense.”

The convention was held on Nov. 24 and 25 outside Chicago. 

Hours of footage from the event were posted publicly by the group American Muslims for Palestine on Saturday.

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Awad went on to accuse the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of controlling the U.S. government.

“AIPAC and its affiliates have been controlling the United States government and the United States Congress,” Awad said. “And if someone says, ‘Oh, Nihad Awad said this about the Congress,’ I tell you, ‘Yes, I say it today, and I will say it tomorrow — unless we free Congress, we will not be able to free Palestine.’”

The CAIR director also lauded the efforts of younger Democrats dissatisfied with President Biden’s continued support of Israel over Hamas.

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“Brothers and sisters, young people in the Democratic Party have sent a clear message to this administration and to the Democratic Party,” Awad told the audience. “That you have betrayed our votes, you have betrayed our support, and you have betrayed young people who aspire for the United States of America to reposition itself as a moral leader in the world. They have betrayed us.”

Protests from left-wing groups against the Biden administration have drawn hundreds of attendees in cities such as Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Philadelphia.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for clarification on its prescription for Israeli response to the Hamas attack and whether the group supports a two-state solution.

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CAIR did not respond to the questions, but Deputy Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell provided a statement attributed to Awad.

“During my speech last week in support of Palestinian human rights, I condemned all forms of bigotry, specifically including Islamophobia and antisemitism, and violence against all civilians,” the statement obtained by Fox News Digital stated. “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.”

Fox News Digital independently verified the speech given by Awad at the Convention for Palestine in the U.S. and did not reference outside reporting on the remarks in this piece.

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“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. 7th 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,” Awad’s statement continued.

Awad also claimed that his reference to feeling “happy” on Oct. 7 did not refer to the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Israelis.

The CAIR director claims instead that he was happy to see Gaza residents briefly enter Israeli territory as a “symbolic act of defiance.”

 

Oct 7 terror attack, Israel

“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,” Awad’s statement reads. “Targeting civilians is unacceptable, no matter whether they are Israeli or Palestinian or any other nationality.”

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