Latest News 07-05-2024 12:05 8 Views

‘Squad’ member caught at fundraiser hosted by Islamic leader who praised Hamas attack on Israel

A member of the far-left 'Squad' facing a tough challenge from within his own party recently attended a fundraiser co-hosted by an Islamic leader who said he was 'happy to see' the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who represents New York's 16th Congressional District, attended the May 1 fundraiser at a private residence in Fairfax, Virginia, and didn't seem to mind the presence of Nihad Awad, a highly controversial and antisemitic figure who serves as the national executive director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Awad faced sharp scrutiny last year after expressing his pleasure with the Hamas attack that resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,200 Israelis, including women and babies, and claiming Israel 'does not have a right to self-defense.'

'The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege – the walls of the concentration camp – on Oct. 7,' Awad said during the 16th annual Convention for Palestine on Nov. 24 near Chicago. '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.'

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 Biden administration later scrambled to distance itself from CAIR following Awad's comments, stating it was removing the group from its publicly listed pledge to fight antisemitism.

At the time, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital in a statement, 'We condemn these shocking, Antisemitic statements in the strongest terms.'

'The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on October 7th were, as President Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil,’' Bates said.

'October 7th was the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust,' he continued. 'The atrocities of that day shock the conscience, which is why we can never forget the pain Hamas has caused for so many innocent people.'

'There are families who are in agony mourning loved ones, and there are also families in agony as they do everything in their power to free loved ones being held hostage,' Bates said. 'Every leader has a responsibility to call out Antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.'

Ahead of the fundraiser, Awad posted on social media praising Bowman as 'a staunch defender of Palestinian rights' and asking people to attend the fundraiser and donate.

It's unclear why Bowman decided to attend a fundraiser alongside Awad, and his campaign did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

Bowman is facing what is expected to be a tough primary battle against George Latimer, who serves as a Westchester County executive and previously served in the New York State Assembly and state Senate.

The primary will be held on June 25. The winner will likely become the next representative of the district as elections analysts rate the race as either 'safe' or 'solid' Democrat.

Fox News' Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.


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