In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/21/2007) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today expressed concern that Israel continues to block the exit of American Muslim families trapped under difficult conditions in the Gaza Strip.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the families, which include U.S. citizens and permanent residents from Arizona and Tennessee, have been unable to leave Gaza since the escalation of hostilities there in June.
The trapped families are now subject to blackouts caused by a European Union embargo on funds to run electrical generators in Gaza. Family members also have health issues and a number of young people are missing the beginning of their school year.
“It is unconscionable that a government receiving billions of American taxpayer dollars continues to prevent U.S. citizens from leaving the increasingly difficult conditions in Gaza,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
State Department officials have arranged a handful of evacuations, but Israel controls the exits and transit points for the families. Last week, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to expedite the evacuation of all Americans stranded in Gaza.
The Arizona chapter of CAIR is working on the case of the family from that state. Another family from Arizona was able to leave Gaza following the direct intervention of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-AZ Civil Rights Director Mohammed Abuhannoud, 602-460-9987; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com