The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) appears to have scrubbed Democratic lawmakers’ praise for its group from its website following blowback over its leader’s controversial statements regarding Hamas, Fox News Digital has discovered.
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, recently said he was “happy to see” the Oct. 7 Hamas invasion of Israel and that the Jewish state did not have a right to self-defense because it was an “occupying power.”
After Awad made the contentious comments, Fox News Digital and other publications questioned Democratic lawmakers who previously expressed support for the group in letters and statements, including some posted on CAIR’s endorsements and awards page.
The endorsements and awards page that contained glowing recognition from Democrats was wiped clean sometime in the past few days and now shows a ‘404’ error.
The page was last captured by the Wayback Machine, an internet archiver, on December 4. It shows its previous state, including its “Awards and Recognitions from Interfaith, Law Enforcement, Elected Officials and Others.”
The page contained over 100 current and former Democratic politicians heaping praise on the group. Federal lawmakers such as Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Vice President Kamala Harris had attributable quotes on the website.
Additionally, the page contained numerous quotes from lawmakers in Congress’ lower chamber, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Andre Carson of Indiana, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Katie Porter of California, among others.
Awad caused headaches for several Democrats following his Nov. 24 speech at the 16th Annual Convention for Palestine in the U.S., where he said he was “happy to see” Hamas attack Israel.
“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege – the walls of the concentration camp – on Oct. 7,” Awad said during his speech. “And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land and walk free into their land that they were not free to walk in.”
“And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense – have the right to defend themselves. And yes, Israel as an occupying power does not have that right to self-defense,” he said.
Awad’s remarks forced the White House to scramble and scrub CAIR as a committed partner to fight antisemitism on its website. A White House spokesperson also forcefully reprimanded his comments in a previous statement to Fox News Digital.
“We condemn these shocking, Antisemitic statements in the strongest terms,” the White House spokesperson said. “The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on October 7th were, as President Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil.'”
Some Democrat lawmakers who associated with or praised the group also condemned Awad’s statements after facing questions about their support, while others remained silent.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms these antisemitic statements – and anyone who tries to make excuses for Hamas’ murder of innocent civilians,” Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who also had an attributable quote on CAIR’s website, previously told Fox News Digital. “I strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself and will continue to stand with the Israeli people as they fight back against Hamas’ terrorism.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin told Fox News Digital that Awad exhibited “blatantly antisemitic comments.”
“There are no two ways about this: Hamas’s October 7th terrorist attacks on Israel were completely horrific – innocent Israelis were slaughtered, hundreds of civilians were kidnapped, and now, countless families are grieving and afraid,” Baldwin said. “I condemn these blatantly antisemitic comments in no uncertain terms, and these remarks have led to me completely losing faith in the organization and its work.”
Likewise, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who previously praised a local CAIR chapter’s “diversity and equality” efforts, pushed back against Awad’s remarks.
“October 7th was a brutal and vicious attack on innocent Israeli civilians,” Casey told Fox News Digital last week. “I unequivocally condemn the antisemitic and hateful comments made by CAIR’s leadership and any comments that celebrate the despicable acts of Hamas terrorists.”
CAIR did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on its endorsement page.