Press Statement: Chicago Muslims Call on Bush to Protect Relatives

(Chicago, IL 7/18/2006) – On Thursday, July 20th 2006, the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) will hold a news conference with members of the local Muslim and Arab-American communities who have relatives under attack in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

At the news conference, community members will ask President Bush to call for an immediate cease-fire by all parties in the Middle East conflict and urge that humanitarian relief be sent to areas devastated by Israel’s bombing campaigns.

WHAT: CAIR-Chicago News Conference with Those who Have Relatives in Lebanon, Gaza
WHEN: Thursday, July 20th 2006 – 11:00AM
WHERE: Downtown Islamic Center (DIC), 231 S. State St., Chicago, (312) 939-9095
CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director (847) 971-3963 or (312) 212-1520

There are an estimated 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon, and many American citizens, both Christian and Muslim, have relatives in Lebanon and Gaza. Despite the fact that many civilians have already been killed in Israeli attacks on the civilian infrastructures of both areas, President Bush has rejected calls for a cease-fire.

Plans to evacuate American citizens from Lebanon have been criticized as too slow. The U.S. government will also bill each evacuee for the cost of their transport out of Lebanon.

“It is inconceivable that our government refuses to request a cease-fire even as hundreds of civilian victims are falling prey to the massive scale Israeli strikes on Lebanon and Gaza. Our double standard gives off the impression that Muslim and Arab lives are somehow less valuable than Israeli lives,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “Targeting civilians in furtherance of a political goal is terrorism, whether the target is a pizza parlor in Tel Aviv or a residential quarter in Beirut.”

Please be advised that there will also be a community rally in support of the Lebanese and Gazan civilian victims of Israel’s bombings this Saturday at Noon at the Tribune Plaza, details to follow.

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: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director (847) 971-3963 or (312) 212-1520