CAIR condemns Israeli Assassination of Religious leader
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned the assassination of a wheelchair-bound Palestinian Muslim religious leader, calling it an act of "state terrorism."
Israel killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a 67-year-old quadriplegic and the most prominent Palestinian Islamic figure, in a missile strike outside a Gaza City mosque on Monday.
In its statement, CAIR said:
"We condemn this violation of international law as an act of state terrorism by Ariel Sharon's out-of-control government. Israel's extra-judicial killing of an Islamic religious leader can only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence throughout the region. The international community must now take concrete steps to help protect the Palestinian people against such wanton Israeli violence.
"We call on the United States to join its allies in condemning this political assassination and to make that condemnation meaningful by cutting the flow American-taxpayer dollars to Israel. It is these tax dollars that pay for the weapons Israel uses to carry out such illegal attacks. American repudiation of Israel's brutal policies could also be demonstrated by the cancellation of Ariel Sharon's upcoming visit to Washington.
"Bland administration statements urging 'restraint by all parties' will only be viewed internationally as tacit approval of Israel's actions and will undermine our moral and legal basis for the war on terrorism.
"Until Israel views Palestinians as human beings, and not just animals to be slaughtered at will during 'hunting season,'* there can be no viable and just resolution to the Middle East conflict. And until America adopts a truly even-handed approach to that conflict, our nation's image will continue to suffer worldwide."
(*Last week, a senior Israeli security official was quoted as saying "hunting season has begun," in reference to assassinations of Palestinians. [Washington Times, 3/18/04])
World leaders have been uniform in their condemnation of Sheikh Yassin's assassination. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the Israeli attack an "unlawful killing." Straw said: "I don't believe Israel will benefit from the fact that this morning an (elderly man) in a wheelchair has been the target of assassination."
European Union foreign ministers said in a statement: "Israel is not…entitled to carry out extra-judicial killings." French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said: "Such acts can only feed the spiral of violence."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has consistently condemned all terrorist acts, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states.