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(6,618 posts)
Wed May 22, 2024, 02:55 PM May 22

"Amid campus protests, organizers with past ties to Hamas support also emerge" [View all]

from usatoday:

On Day 7 of the pro-Palestinian protests on the Columbia University campus, Osama Abuirshaid stopped by the student encampment.
The executive director of American Muslims for Palestine walked through the tent city, then made a fiery speech to the gathered crowd.

“This is not only a genocide that is being committed in Gaza,” Abuirshaid said. “This is also a war on us here in America.”

Forty-eight hours later, Abuirshaid appeared at another campus — George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he delivered another speech. Osama Abuirshaid at a protest event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2024.

Campus protests, which swept the country this spring, emerged as an outcry over the civilian death toll of the military campaign Israel launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Most student protesters have sought to distance themselves from Hamas, which the United States designated as a terrorist entity in 1997.

But top members of Abuirshaid’s organization have complex connections to the campus protest movement. And Abuirshaid and others from American Muslims for Palestine were once employees or officials at another group tied to direct financial support for Hamas, USA TODAY found.

From 2002 to 2004, Abuirshaid ran the internal newspaper for a pro-Palestinian media organization called Islamic Association for Palestine. The group’s sister fundraising organization, the Holy Land Foundation was designated a terror group in 2001, investigated by the FBI and indicted by the Department of Justice. Ultimately, the foundation’s leaders went to prison for supporting terrorists, and a federal judge later found both groups responsible for funding Hamas.

An array of pending civil lawsuits alleges that Abuirshaid’s current group also has close Hamas ties, though these claims remain unproven as the suits work their way through the judicial system.

American Muslims for Palestine denies any Hamas ties, or even a close link to the previous groups.

“There have been many allegations and insinuations against American Muslims for Palestine and whether it has connections to Hamas, supports Hamas, or in any way, shape or form aids Hamas. The answer to all of those is simple and clear: No,” said Christine Jump, an attorney who represents AMP. “No, it does not.”

While campus protesters across the country have expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people, individual protests have also showcased moments of more overt support for Hamas or for violence: At Stanford University, officials alerted the FBI after a man at a campus protest was seen wearing a headband resembling those worn by Hamas fighters. At Columbia, students chanted “Hamas, we love you. We support your rockets too.”

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