CAIR ASKS SEC. RICE TO HELP TENN. FAMILY TRAPPED IN GAZA
U.S. mother and 3 children blocked from leaving area after hostilities
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/7/2007) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is calling on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to help evacuate a Tennessee Muslim mother and her three children trapped in the Gaza Strip.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the four American citizens have been unable to leave Gaza, where they were visiting family, since the escalation of hostilities there in June. The family’s father, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., reported to CAIR that his wife and children were turned away after a five hour wait at an Israeli checkpoint because they had not been issued a “special permit” by the American embassy.
According to the father, his youngest child has been ill with a severe stomach virus and his children are scheduled to begin school in the United States on August 13.
In a letter to Secretary Rice, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote: “We urge you to do whatever you can to expedite and coordinate the evacuation of the [family] and of all other Americans stranded in Gaza.”
There are indications that other American citizens have been similarly blocked from leaving Gaza.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters 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.