Around 1,000 Jews and Christians gathered on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 for a mid-day rally to support the nation of Israel outside Metra’s Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center, the office complex of the Israeli Consulate at 500 W. Madison in downtown Chicago. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations(USCMO), the first U.S. Muslim Brotherhood political party, joined in solidarity with approximately 200 pro-Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS supporters in a counter demonstration at a time of increasing tensions between Muslims and Jews in the Chicago metropolitan area.
As reported on its Facebook event page, the anti-Israel event Stand with Gaza: Protest Zionism in Chicago! held on the 22nd of July was hosted through the US Palestinian Community Network,and convened by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine members in the Chicago metropolitan area. The event included participation by the following organizations: American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Islamic Center, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, Mosque Foundation, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-Chicago, andUnited States Palestinian Community Network.
A highly visible law enforcement presence that included the Chicago Police Department (CPD), CPD SWAT Team, and US DHS police closely guarded the perimeters of the rally to prevent any escalation of violence, as Israel’s Operation Protective Edge entered its 15th day destroying HAMAS tunnels in the face of stiff opposition from Palestinian fighters, who continued to lob rockets and missiles into Israel.
As confirmed by CPD News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada in a report from the Chicago Tribune on 20 July, half a dozen cars in Chicago were targeted with anti-Jewish leaflets. These antisemitic incidents are now under investigation by the CPD Hate Crime unit. The anti-Jewish leaflets explicitly threatened violence against Jews in Chicago if Israel did not cease its military operations in Gaza.
The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations was represented at the anti-Israel event in Chicago notably by the USCMO Secretary General Ousama Jammal’s Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, where he is currently Vice President. Another USCMO member group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), co-founded and chaired by Dr. Hatem Bazian (also the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine), showed up as well, carrying AMP posters and signs.
Member participation from the USCMO at the “Stand with Gaza: Protest Zionism in Chicago!” event marks its first public demonstration in solidarity with HAMAS, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Covenant commits HAMAS to the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. The USCMO only recently concluded its inaugural banquet together with senior Muslim Brotherhood leadership in June 2014 at a Washington, D.C. venue. Jammal’s Mosque Foundation features a troubled history of individuals associated with Muslim Brotherhood front organizations openly supporting HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.