published : 2023-12-10

Dem Lawmakers Praised Group with Controversial Comments on Hamas Attack

Sens. Baldwin and Brown Condemn the Group's Antisemitic Remarks

A photo of Senator Krysten Sinema, taken with a Nikon D850.

Several Democrat members of Congress have a long history of public support for an organization whose leader recently ignited a firestorm over controversial comments regarding Hamas' deadly attacks on Israeli citizens.

Nihad Awad, the executive director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), recently said that he was 'happy to see' the October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel and that the Jewish state did not have a right to self-defense because it is an 'occupying power.'

Awad's comments forced the White House to scramble and scrub CAIR as a committed partner to fight antisemitism on its website.

Meanwhile, dozens of federal lawmakers across the U.S. have previously expressed support for CAIR, as featured on the organization's website, and some remained silent when asked about the co-founder's stance on the horrific attacks that left 1,200 dead and others captured.

Sen. Krysten Sinema, I-Ariz., who is facing re-election in the 2024 cycle, previously applauded CAIR's work as 'advocating for a more just society' and also accepted thousands of dollars in campaign donations from former directors and chairs of the group's Arizona chapter.

Federal Election Commission filings show the independent senator accepted $2,500 in contributions from the former director of CAIR's Arizona chapter, Deedra Abboud, $250 from the chapter's former vice-chair, Mannan Abdul Mohammed, and $100 from the chapter's former chair over the years.

An image of Senator Bob Menendez speaking at a press conference, captured with a Canon EOS R.

Sinema did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment regarding Awad's statement on Israel and whether she stands by her comments praising the group.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is currently facing criminal bribery charges, also praised CAIR 'for empowering American Muslims nationwide in political and social activism through our country.'

Menendez also did not respond when asked about CAIR's stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, praised CAIR in 2019 'for empowering American Muslims nationwide in political and social activism through our country.'

Brown, who is defending one of the Democrats' most vulnerable Senate seats in 2024, condemned CAIR's most recent comment about the conflict in the Middle East.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she condemns 'these blatantly antisemitic comments in no uncertain terms, and these remarks have led to me completely losing faith in the organization and its work.'

A picture of Representative Ilhan Omar addressing a crowd, taken with a Sony A7 III.

Over 100 members of Congress, including then-Senator Vice President Kamala Harris, wrote personalized thank-you notes to CAIR in 2018 to congratulate them on over two decades of work.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., wrote in a letter that CAIR has 'played an instrumental role in helping America move forward.'

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., previously delivered a controversial speech at a fundraiser for the group in 2019 before being named CAIR's 'American Muslim Public Servant of 2021.'

While CAIR was founded in 1994, Omar claimed in her speech that the group was 'founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.'

Joe Schoffstall is a politics producer/reporter for Fox News Digital.