Southern California Religious Leaders Offer Condolences at Turkish Consulate
Los Angeles , CA: Representatives from the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) and other faith-based groups visited the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles to offer condolences from the American people to the Turkish people and government for their recent losses of innocent lives at the hands of the Israeli soldiers.
The delegation’s visit follows Israel's May 31 attack on a Gaza flotilla of ships that was delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
The delegation featured leading Southern California Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders who met with Turkish Consul General R. Hakan Tekin. Those taking part in the meeting expressed a strong desire to bring an end to the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian territories.
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush stated: "We also want to offer support and praises for the efforts and leadership the Turkish people and their elected government have been playing to end the inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza 's over 1.5 million residents. We wanted them to know that while our government might not have been supportive, many Americans, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, are very supportive."
Rick Chertoff of LA Jews for Peace spoke of Turkey's historical role in protecting the rights of Jewish people, during the Spanish Inquisition and Nazi rule in Germany. He also said that Israel's actions do not speak for the many Jewish and Israeli people who do not condone the state's collective punishment of the Palestinians and its disregard for international law.
Ahmad Az am, West Coast MAS Freedom leader, praised the Turkish people's leadership in standing up for justice and human rights and expressed the organization's determination to end the embargo, which has caused horrific suffering for Gazans.
Consul General Takin said: "This has been a great tragedy for us. The brutal reaction by the Israeli Defense Forces on a civilian group of people was never expected . . . Such a needless use of force, the timing, and the place, being in international waters and under darkness, and with serious reports that Israelis fired first, have made us call for an independent investigation. We are disappointed with the US reaction. It was not unexpected, but it was disappointing that the US is not consistent and holds different standards for Israel."
Those participating in the visit were Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area; Rev. Jerry Stinson, 1st Congregational Church of Long Beach; Shakeel Syed, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California; Sana Ibrahim, Palestinian American Women's Association; Ahmed Azam, MAS Freedom - LA; Marcy Winograd, Progressive Democrats of America - LA Chapter; and representatives of LA Jews for Peace Rick Chertoff, Lillian Laskin, Dick Platkin, and Jeff Warner .
The delegation’s visit was organized by CAIR-LA.
The Israeli attack has garnered worldwide condemnation, and analysts believe that the incident will spark a positive shift toward ending the Gaza siege.