After posting a photo of Nihad Awad from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with George Bush Jr on our twitter feed with a comment (السفاح الذي قتل اكثر من مليون عراقي هو الذي تقف الى جانبه لتآخذ صورة تذكارية) about his willingness to attend a White House photo-op with the butcher of over one million Iraqis Mr. Awad sent us the following message:
لا مانع ان يكون لك رأي مخالف لكن لا تدعي ما لا تعلم. هذه الصورة أخذت في عام 2000 م. فأرجو ان تتحلى بألجرأة وتصحح خطأك.لم التقي ببوش بعد 2001
There is no problem with you having a different opinion, however, do not make assertions about what you don’t know. This picture was taken in the year 2000 so I hope you would have the courage to correct your mistake. I did not meet with Bush after 2001. [Translation by ikhras]
Yes Mr. Awad, we have no problem correcting any “mistake” you can plausibly claim we may have made. We did not indicate the date of the photo, but since we were clearly criticizing your willingness to attend a Bush White House photo-op, we’re willing to point out this photo was taken prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. But this then presents a question for you which we also hope you have the courage to answer honestly. Are you implying that you would have declined an invitation to a Bush White House event after 2003 in protest of the criminal invasion of Iraq? Your own political “activism” and CAIR’s almost 2o-year record of continuous and uninterrupted working relationships with successive US administrations would suggest otherwise.
Your brief bio on the CAIR website includes the following:
In his professional capacity, Mr. Awad has also personally met with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin L. Powell to discuss the needs of the American Muslim community.
Both Albright and Powell were deeply involved in US war crimes against the Iraqi people.
Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first US war on Iraq in 1991. He was a war criminal responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including the infamous “Highway of Death” massacre, prior to the 2003 US invasion. You must have been aware of Powell’s war crimes when you joined him for an “Iftar Dinner” while he was Secretary of State during the same period you attended that photo-op at the Bush White House.
After the savage war on Iraq in 1991 a genocidal sanctions regime was enforced by the US and its NATO allies which resulted in the death of over one million Iraqis, including over 5000 children every month. For eight of those years the sanctions were the official policy of the Clinton administration. Albright was the US Ambassador to the United Nations during the first Clinton Administration and was appointed Secretary of State during Clinton’s second term. When Albright, a staunch defender of the sanctions regime, was asked about the death toll sanctions on Iraq have taken on the children (half a million children had been murdered by that time) she responded by saying “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.” Your meetings with Albright to discuss the “needs” of the American Muslim community (And we’re not sure what needs we have that can be addressed by the US Secretary of State) took place during the Clinton Administration.
During that same Clinton period you also served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. You have also had numerous meetings over the years with Islamophobic & racist members of Congress that support, fund, and vote for US and Israeli wars on Arab and Muslim countries. You also continue to be a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program” which means you’re periodically called upon by the State Department to welcome foreign officials on behalf of the US government as a representative of American Muslims.
Next year CAIR will celebrate its 20th anniversary. During this entire period you and your organization have been focused on ingratiating yourselves with the Washington establishment. This has prevented you from clearly condemning US wars and policies that caused the death of millions of Iraqis. Sure, you may have expressed mild disapproval (within the limits of acceptable Washington discourse) from time to time, but it’s impossible to reconcile the scope of death and destruction inflicted upon the Iraqi people by successive US administrations with your occasional, excessively polite criticism.
We have now corrected our “mistake” but can you honestly tell the American-Muslim community you would have declined an invitation to the Bush White House after 2003 in protest of the invasion of Iraq? And if, as we and the vast majority of Muslim-Americans believe, the answer is a no then isn’t your request to correct an honest “mistake” nothing more than a deliberate attempt on your part to mislead the Muslim-American community into believing you would not have attended a White House photo-op after 2003?