White House scrambles to distance itself from Islamic group after leader's praise for Hamas attack

The White House is scrambling to distance itself from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after its leader appeared to say that he was "happy" to see Palestinians in Gaza "break the siege" during Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attack against Israel.

Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director, is seen making the comments in a video making its rounds on social media.

"The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp on Oct. 7," Awad says in the video, which quickly went viral on social media. "And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land and walk free into their land that they were not allowed to walk in."

"And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense, have the right to defend themselves," he added. "And yes, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense."

After being contacted regarding the comments, a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital they are removing the group from its publicly listed pledge to fight antisemitism. 

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