The founder and executive director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations said last month that he was “happy” to see Gazans “break the siege” on October 7 when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst through the enclave’s border with Israel and massacred 1,200 people and took another roughly 240 hostage.
“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on October 7,” Nihad Awad said in a speech during the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) convention in Chicago last month.
“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, which they were not allowed to walk in,” he adds.
“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.
“Gaza transformed many minds around the world, including people who are not Muslim. What kind of faith do these people have? They are thankful, they are not afraid.
“Israel did not scare them because they knew their heaven is in Gaza, and if they would like to die, they will go to another heaven.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad at AMP Convention: I Was Happy to See the People of Gaza Break the Siege on October 7; They Were Victorious; the People of Gaza Have the Right to Self-Defense – Israel Does Not #Hamas #Gaza #Palestinians @CAIRNational @NihadAwad pic.twitter.com/WDbSRjFJo0
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 7, 2023
“That is the faith of the people of Gaza. That is why Gaza and the people of Gaza were able to transform everyone who is watching.
“They have learned from these people. Those who felt bad for Gaza. They don’t understand the equation. Those who thought that Gazans are less than those who can help them, they are mistaken. They are mistaken. The Gazans were victorious.”
Four days after October 7, CAIR issued a statement saying that “targeting civilians is wrong, whether they are Palestinian, Israeli, American or any other nationality.”