Popular American Imam Omar Suleiman, known for his Israel-bashing antics, gave the Ramadan invocation at the opening of Thursday’s House of Representatives session.
Suleiman is the founder and president of the Irving, Texas-based Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. He was invited to give Thursday’s invocation by US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), a Yaqeen Institute statement said.
“We pray for peace, not war,” he said. “Love not hate. Benevolence, not greed. Unity, not division. And we commit ourselves to not betraying our prayers with actions that contradict them. Let us be for truth, no matter who, or for is against it.”
Suleiman has made several vehemently anti-Israel comments and also seemed to side with Hamas in an August 2014 Facebook post.
As the 2014 Gaza War broke out, Suleiman said on social media: “How befitting that the 3rd Intifada starts on the 27th night of Ramadan as worshippers are denied prayer in Masjid Al Aqsa.” He ended his post with a prayer of sorts: “God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. ameen.”
During the war, Suleiman also denied that Hamas uses human shields in an attempt to stop the IDF from retaliating against rocket fire sent from Gaza into Israeli civilian communities.
“If Hamas was using human shields, wouldn’t the Palestinians say something about it?” he wrote. “Surprise, surprise: apparently the IDF was guilty even as they tried to convince the world that the reason why they couldn’t stop massacring civilians was because of the use of human shields. This is disgusting… #FreePalestine #ICC4Israel”
Also in 2014, Suleiman also made a comment on social media alluding to the antisemitic idea that Israel controls American foreign policy, claiming that it is the “51st state.
In 2017, he also addressed a rally protesting the US Embassy move to Jerusalem was organized by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a group which seeks “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”
He denied the Jewish claim to Jerusalem while speaking at the event.
“Your recognition means nothing to us,” he said. “Your maps mean nothing to us, your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize. Our land is our land, our dignity is our dignity.
“Our determination is our determination. Our boycott is our boycott. Our Aqsa [the holy mosque in Jerusalem] is our Aqsa. Our Palestine is our Palestine,” he added.
He has also openly supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and Women’s March founder Linda Sarsour – all who have shared vehemently anti-Israel sentiments.
In a 2018 blog post advocating for AMP, Suleiman said that the tide in the fight for Palestinians “is turning.”
“There is no longer one side dominating the political discourse in America,” he said. “In the last month [referring to December], we heard from newly-elected congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib openly express their support for BDS and Palestinian rights.”
“I can’t stress to you enough how essential it is to invest in Palestine advocacy work,” he wrote. “We need to organize at the legislative level to shift US policy toward one of justice and equality for Palestinians.”
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