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CAIR-NY: Open Letter to Obama Calls for Even-Handed Mideast Policy

(NEW YORK, NY, 01/21/09) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), together with the Muslim Public Affairs Council – NYC Office and other advocacy groups across the nation, today called on President Barack Obama to adopt an even-handed policy that ensures sustainable peace in the Middle East. The groups’ open letter was published in the New York Times inauguration edition.

The coalition, which included the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Jews Against the Occupation, LA Jews For Peace, Pax Christi Metro New York, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and United for Peace and Justice, provided recommendations to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.
The open letter to President Obama read in part:

“With your historic inauguration as the 44th President of the United States, we share our sincerest congratulations and hope that you will uphold your commitment to change.
“As American citizens we are deeply concerned that our nation’s one-sided approach to the Middle East crisis compromises America’s ability to act as a fair negotiator. Our foreign policy has upheld the interests of Israel, but has failed to do the same for the Palestinian people. Israel – the fourth largest military power in the world – has devastated a population of 1.5 million people, one without an army, navy, or air force. As the attacks in Gaza demonstrated, the outgoing administration chose to defend Israeli aggression even though the violence resulted in the disproportionate deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians, including 300 children, as compared to 13 Israelis. Indeed, the loss of all of these lives cannot be justified.”

To view the entire letter, go here.
“Civilian casualties should not be dismissed as collateral damage,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif. “We urge the Obama administration to avoid a double standard that allows Palestinian civilians to be killed without protest and accountability.”
“As President Obama said yesterday, the era we are entering is one of responsibility,” said MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. “We pray that he and his administration will take responsibility to help the people of Gaza to rebuild their lives, end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, and produce a viable Palestinian state.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, E-Mail:; CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, 212-870-2002, 718.724.3041, E-Mail:


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