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L.A. Muslims Critical of Mayor's Support for Israel

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MPAC Calls for Meeting with Mayor Villaraigosa to Discuss Gaza Crisis

Los Angeles (Jan. 5, 2009) --- Los Angeles Muslim leaders have shared their deep disappointment in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's public support of Israel's war in Gaza, and called on the mayor to meet with them regarding the crisis in Gaza.

Villaraigosa met with the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles and the President of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles Monday, which was followed by a news conference in which he expressed his support for Israel's war in Gaza.

At a separate news conference on Monday, Muslim Public Affairs Council Salam Al-Marayati said:

"Why is the mayor of Los Angeles dragging himself and his constituents into international conflicts in the Middle East? If he chooses to engage in international issues, he should meet with all sides and discuss the critical perspectives and recommendations from all sides before making a decision on such an important international issue.

The Mayor should bring both sides together to talk about how we can prevent the conflict and violence emanating from the Middle East from spilling over onto our streets in America. All of us, as Americans, should call for three things:

"One, an immediate cessation of hostilities. The rockets from Hamas are wrong. The invasion of Gaza by an Israeli military that is one of the most powerful in the world, against a defenseless population, that results in mass suffering and killing of civilians among the Palestinian people, is wrong and we should be very clear about that.

"Two, allowing for humanitarian aid to go into Gaza without any impediment from the Israeli military and the Israeli government

"Three, allowing foreign journalists to go into Gaza and give us objective reports of what is actually taking place, what is the level of the humanitarian crisis, and what is the level of suffering among the people."

The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group which coordinates between the more than 70 mosques in Southern California, issued a statement which read in part:

"The Islamic Shura Council is disappointed and feels betrayed by the Mayor's one-eyed perspective on the tragedy of colossal proportions in Gaza. While we grant the right for the Mayor to his opinion, we also believe he is obligated to recognize all perspectives to any situation. The Mayor failed Los Angelenos in this regard and we hold him responsible."



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