In the aftermath of the largest loss of Jewish life in one day since the Holocaust, Islamists across the United States are offering both tacit and open approval of the attack perpetrated by Hamas.
Nihad Awad, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tweeted in Arabic on October 7, calling for all Arab peoples to reject normalizing relations with Israel. In 1994, Awad publicly stated, "I am in support of the Hamas movement." The Hamas Charter calls for obliterating Israel and says, "There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad." On October 10, Awad called NewsNation host Dan Abrams an "Apartheid propagandist" for criticizing MSNBC for refusing to name Hamas atrocities for what they are, the actions of terrorists. Hamas is a U.S. designated foreign terror organization.
American Muslims for Palestine released a statement on October 7, saying, "American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) are gravely concerned about the unfolding crisis in Gaza, precipitated by increased Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people."
"Palestinians have been murdered by the thousands & we say nothing," tweeted AMP's Executive Director, Osama Abulrshaid, on October 8, adding, "And suddenly Joe Biden pops up & starts teaching us about morality & humanity. Well, screw your morality!" AMP's lobbying arm, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, condemned the Biden administration's response, calling it a "disconnect between rhetoric and reality." Last year, a federal judge determined that a years' long lawsuit — that alleges AMP is linked to Hamas — could proceed.
Mohammed Ali Elahi serves as imam for the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. In an interview with CBS News, Detroit, Elahi spoke alongside Rabbi Asher. Asher unequivocally condemned the killing of civilians on both sides and condemned Hamas. Elahi responded saying, "War is the not answer. Extremism is not the answer. Unfortunately, Netanyahu — based on the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz — he is the one responsible for these clashes," adding, "We believe the path to peace is justice." Watch the interview here. Elahi served in the Iranian regime's Navy in the 1980s and reportedly came to the U.S. in 1991 to inspect Tehran's Hezbollah network. In 2005, when then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Israel should be, "wiped off the map," Elahi defended the remarks. As of July of last year, the Islamic House of Wisdom hosted an online library which included resources calling for subjugating the world under Islam. When Focus on Western Islam inquired about it, the library disappeared from the website.
Suhaib Webb, an American-born imam, runs an online school that has the goal of producing "passionate invigorated Muslims." On October 9, Webb responded to the Hamas attack on Israel, saying, "It is fundamentally flawed to accuse people who are seeking their humanity and dignity and respect of being inhumane." Post 9/11, Webb reportedly attempted to post bond for Hussein Al-Attas who drove the "20th hijacker" to flight school. Webb has said, "I understand you might have some animosity to them (Jews) but try to make some dawa [outreach], you never know what might happen."
On October 9, the Islamic Society of Baltimore posted a video to its YouTube channel stating, "'Do not forget us,' said Palestine. 'Dear Palestine, we never will,' replied the Ummah." In 2004, the mosque's then cleric, Mohammed El-Sheikh, "justified Palestinian suicide bombings."
Mufti Yasir Nadeem al Wajidi founded and directs Darul Uloom Online Institute of Islamic and teaches at the Chicago-area Institute of Islamic Education. On October 7, he tweeted, "Freedom fighters vs. occupying terrorists 'How many times has a small force vanquished a mighty army by the Will of Allah!' Quran: 2/249." On October 10, he wrote, "The victims of the Holocaust cannot cause a Holocaust. Either they're not the victims of the Holocaust or the Holocaust is not true! #غزة_تحت_القصف #طوفان_الأقصى #PalestineUnderAttack."
Khaled Beydoun, a professor at Wayne State School of Law, blamed the existence of Hamas and ISIS on Israeli and American actions, tweeting, "There would be no Hamas without the occupation. There would be no ISIS without the illegal war in Iraq. Vile actors are born from even more vile acts and the contexts they sow." He describes himself on his website as "a leading thinker on national security."
Ismail Menk, "Mufti Menk," a self-described "leading global Islamic scholar" tweeted a call to "Allah" to "Grant [the Palestinians] the victory they deserve." In the past, Menk has advocated for an Islamic theocracy and called for stoning women who fornicate.
Omar Suleiman, Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute, tweeted on October 13, "Be courteous, but be courageous. Be smart but be willing to make the sacrifices necessary for your principles. Our people in #Palestine have suffered for too long, they need us now more than ever to not be silenced." In his Friday khutbah (sermon), Suleiman said, "Who cares if we face consequences for trying to be their voice outside of the trench," later adding, "Palestine is not a losing battle. Palestine will win inshallah...Al Aqsa will be liberated...They will win...when Allah wants it to happen...Are our favorite politicians going to turn their backs on us? Are you maybe going to get a letter from your administration at a university? Are you going to get slapped on the wrist? Will you have certain consequences that will be faced? Is your social media going to be taken down? Maybe. Who cares." In 2014, Suleiman posted on Facebook saying, "The Zionists are the enemies of God, His Messengers, sincere followers of all religions, and humanity as a whole."
On October 7, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) wrote on Facebook, "By actively, and often violently, preventing their pursuit of a self-defined identity, national autonomy, and global recognition, Israeli occupation and the world's continued silence has offered Hamas and other groups the political vacuum needed to propel themselves into positions of leadership and justify their violent attacks." MPAC has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a "history of sanitizing jihad and portraying terrorists as noble."
Susannah Johnston is Focus on Western Islamism's investigative reporter.