The look on the face of 12-year-old Norma Rahal tells the story. It is a look of worry, of concern, of fear.

Her mother went to Lebanon just a week ago to visit relatives. Now, her mother is trapped in the nation where war between Israel and the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah has flared.

They also are separated from other family members, unable to travel from Beirut to Tyre, in the southern part of Lebanon. advertisement

Norma was one of four people, three of them Valley residents, who told stories of family separation and worry at a press conference Wednesday, sponsored by the Council on American- Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The girl lives in Dearborn, Mich., but was staying with her uncle in the Valley while her mother traveled.

Bushra Khan of the council read a statement calling for a cease-fire in the conflicts, both in Lebanon and in Gaza, where fighting between the Israelis and militants tied to the Hamas group began June 28.

She said the United States should force Israel to accept a halt in military action.

“We are concerned to our government’s refusal to even request a cease-fire creates the perception that Muslim and Arab lives are somehow less valuable than Israeli lives,” she said.

“Targeting civilians to achieve a political goal is terrorism, whether the target is a pizza parlor in Tel Aviv (Israel) or an apartment building in Beirut.”

She said CAIR accepts the U.S. State Department’s designation of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. “Our concern is the safety of civilians and (Israel’s) destruction of (Lebanese) infrastructure,” she said. “We are calling for a cease-fire by all parties.” (MORE)



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