In an open letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and several other Muslim groups urged him to end what they described as a “one-sided discourse.”
After Hamas’ barbaric Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians, which U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin described as “worse than what I saw with ISIS,” Shapiro posted on X (formerly Twitter): “I condemn the horrific acts of war in Israel by Hamas and their enablers. These attacks on innocent Israeli civilians are abhorrent and warrant world condemnation and outrage. Our family has shared many special moments in Israel and our hearts break for those living this horror now. We stand in solidarity against terror and are praying for all people in Israel.”
The Pittsburgh and Philadelphia chapters of CAIR issued its open letter to Shapiro on Oct. 12, blaming Israel as the “root cause” of Hamas’ attacks. It states, in part:
“We had hoped you would join us in recognizing the humanity of over 2.5 million people being held hostage, facing death and famine in Gaza. There are those of us who have lost family members to airstrikes targeting civilians in Gaza and they, too, emphasize a Muslim’s most cherished quality is Justice.
“Since last weekend, you have not even once publicly recognized the inhumane treatment of civilians, systematic occupation and apartheid, and dehumanization by Israel against civilian Muslim, Christian, Druze Palestinians. Not only did you fail to recognize the structural root causes of the conflict, you chose to intentionally ignore the civilian loss of life in Gaza.”
Shapiro told CBS 21 News that before the release of the open letter, his administration agreed to meet with Muslim community leaders, and that he “is pained by the violence and anguish across the region and the loss of innocent lives.”
Shapiro added that he “firmly stands by his public comments and his core belief that there is no moral equivalency between Hamas — a terrorist organization — and Israel. In the face of these crimes against humanity, we all must speak with moral clarity and support Israel’s right to defend itself.” PJC