In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR SEEKS REPORTS OF AMERICANS KILLED, INJURED IN LEBANON
Islamic civil rights groups says Israeli attacks may be ‘war crimes’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/20/06) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today said it will gather eyewitness reports from Lebanon evacuees to determine whether any U.S. citizens or permanent residents were killed or injured in Israeli attacks on that nation.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said evacuees are being asked to fill out an online form detailing their experiences during the Israeli bombing campaign on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.
SEE: CAIR Lebanon Evacuee Questionnaire
U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Wednesday that attacks on civilians in Lebanon, Israel and Gaza and the West Bank may constitute war crimes. The International Red Cross also said that Israeli attacks on Lebanon have violated the principle of “proportionality” as mandated by the Geneva Conventions.
SEE: Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say (NY Times)
More than 300 Lebanese civilians have already been killed in Israeli attacks. Those attacks killed as many as 70 people on Wednesday, making it the deadliest day since the fighting began. An estimated 500,000 people have bee forced to flee their homes in Southern Lebanon.
Lebanese officials say Israeli attacks on bridges, roads, telecommunications and electrical networks, port facilities, and other civilian infrastructure will take $2 billion to repair.
There were an estimated 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon at the time Israel began its bombing campaign. Many American citizens, both Christian and Muslim, also have relatives in Lebanon.
“We need to know whether any of our nation’s citizens or permanent residents were harmed by Israeli attacks using American taxpayer-supplied weapons,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. He said the data collected from the evacuees will be evaluated by experts in international law.
Awad noted that many legal experts say Israel is in violation of international law and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act for using American weapons to target Lebanon’s civilians and civilian infrastructure.
SEE: Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast (IPS)
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726