A U.S.-based pro-Muslim group blasted President Biden after he expressed ‘no confidence’ in the Palestinian death toll figures reported by Hamas.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned what they called ‘shocking and dehumanizing’ remarks made by Biden during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday.
At the White House, Biden rejected a question posed by PBS correspondent Laura Barrón-López about the Palestinian death count provided by the terrorist group Hamas, saying he has ‘no confidence’ such numbers are truthful.
‘We are deeply disturbed and shocked by the dehumanizing comments that President Biden made about the almost 7,000 Palestinians slaughtered by the Israeli government over the past two weeks,’ CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
‘The Israeli government has openly admitted that it is targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Journalists have confirmed the high number of casualties, and countless videos coming out of Gaza every day show mangled bodies of Palestinian women and children — and entire city blocks leveled to the ground. President Biden should watch some of these videos and ask himself if the crushed children being dragged out of the ruins of their family homes are a fabrication or an acceptable price of war. They are neither,’ Awad continued.
He demanded an apology from Biden and called on the president to ‘condemn the Israeli government for deliberately targeting civilians, and demand a ceasefire before more innocent people die.’
Reached for comment, the White House noted that the president, in his answer and in his opening remarks, reiterated the importance of avoiding any Palestinian civilian casualties. Biden has repeatedly said the loss of innocent Palestinian life is a tragedy.
During a joint press conference Wednesday alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Barrón-López attempted to press Biden on whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was keeping his word of limiting civilian casualties in Israel’s response to the horrific Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.
‘In the 18 days since Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed over 6,000 Palestinians, including 2,700 children,’ Barrón-López said. ‘You’ve previously asked Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties. Do these numbers say to you that he’s ignoring that message?’
‘What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,’ Biden responded.
Biden continued, ‘I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war. I think we should be incredibly careful… Israel should be incredibly careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are the propagating this war against Israel. And it’s against their interest when that doesn’t happen. But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.’
Last week, several news organizations rushed to report claims made by the Gaza Health Ministry that Israel bombed al-Ahli Baptist Hospital through an airstrike resulting in over 500 civilian casualties.
Subsequent reporting and intelligence found it was an explosion in the hospital’s parking lot stemming from a misfired rocket fired by Hamas ally Islamic Jihad, resulting in a death toll a fraction of what Hamas had first alleged.
CAIR, the largest Muslim advocacy group in the nation, has faced controversy for its alleged ties to Islamic extremist groups.
In 2009, the FBI severed its once-close ties to CAIR amid mounting evidence that the group had links to a support network for Hamas.
Local chapters of CAIR were shunned in the wake of a 15-year FBI investigation that culminated in the conviction of Hamas fundraisers at a trial in which CAIR itself was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.
The United Arab Emirates named CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014.
In a statement on its website in May 2013, CAIR rejected suggestions it had links to terrorism.
‘CAIR is not is [sic] ‘the Wahhabi lobby,’ a ‘front group for Hamas,’ a ‘fundraising arm for Hezbollah,’ ‘…part of a wider conspiracy overseen by the Muslim Brotherhood…’ or any of the other false and misleading associations our detractors seek to smear us with,’ the organization said. ‘That we stand accused of being both a ‘fundraising arm of Hezbollah’ and the ‘Wahhabi lobby’ is a significant point in demonstrating that our detractors are hurling slander, not fact. Hezbollah and the Salafi (Wahhabi) movement represent diametrically opposed ideologies.’
Fox News Digital’s Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Gregg Re contributed to this report.