California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) met with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) before the new year. The executive director of CAIR praised the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel during the meeting, expressing happiness about the event.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad at AMP Convention: I Was Happy to See the People of Gaza Break the Siege on October 7; They Were Victorious; the People of Gaza Have the Right to Self-Defense – Israel Does Not #Hamas #Gaza #Palestinians @CAIRNational @NihadAwad pic.twitter.com/WDbSRjFJo0— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 7, 2023
As Breitbart News reported in December (via MEMRI):
Video emerged Thursday of Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), celebrating the October 7 terror attack by Hamas in which 1200 people were murdered in Israel and more than 240 were abducted as hostages.
Awad’s speech on November 24 to the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) convention in Chicago was reported at the time, but was largely overlooked; it resurfaced Thursday when shared by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
As Breitbart news has noted:
In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).
Yet Newsom met with CAIR, according to a press release by the organization dated January 4:
The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) organized a meeting between Governor Gavin Newsom and Muslim leaders from across the state before the holiday break to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Attendees included representatives from the Northern California Islamic Council, Palestinian American Medical Association, West Valley Muslim Association, Muslim Students Association West, and Shura Council of Southern California.
A statement attributed to CAIR’s California CEO, Hussam Ayloush, said:
“We were pleased by the Governor’s commitment to ensure his Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab constituents are heard as the violent siege on Gaza continues and that CAIR-CA had the platform to request the administration be proactive in ensuring the dignity of Palestinians.
“In his tenure, Governor Newsom has paved the path as a champion for civil rights, and we urge him to continue to use his voice as the leader of Californians who overwhelmingly demand a ceasefire.”
As Chuck Ross of the Washington Free Beacon notes, Ayloush has also defended the October 7 terror attack:
Ayloush, too, has downplayed Hamas’s attack on Israel, the worst attack in the Jewish state’s history. He asserted in a sermon at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in November that it was “a lie” that Hamas’s invasion of Israel was an “unprovoked attack,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“If I hear that term again, I’ll go crazy,” Ayloush said. “Unprovoked in what dictionary?”
The White House distanced itself from CAIR after Awad’s remarks, even though it had previously collaborated with CAIR to dilute the national antisemitism “strategy,” removing the Trump administration’s definition of extreme anti-Israel rhetoric as antisemitic. Newsom, supportive of Israel during the ongoing conflict, traveled to Israel to visit victims of the Hamas terror attack.