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Muslim leader quits panel over ‘jihad

A Muslim activist resigned from a Virginia state board because of remarks he made about Israel.

Esam Omeish, a surgeon and the president of the Muslim American Society, last week quit a governor-appointed commission set up to examine immigration issues.

Republicans in the state Legislature pressed Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, to oust Omeish after videos surfaced on YouTube of Omeish referring to Israel’s actions in Lebanon last summer as “the barbaric and disproportionate Israeli war machine.”

In another YouTube video from 2000, Omeish said: “We, Muslims of the Washington metropolitan area, are here today in subfreezing temperatures to tell our brothers and sisters that you have learned the way, that you have known the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”

Kaine, who at first resisted calls for Omeish to go, accepted his resignation, saying the controversy would distract from the work of the commission.

Omeish blamed xenophobes for forcing him out, and said his use of the word of “jihad” was in its nonviolent sense of struggle.

The Muslim American Society was founded by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that promotes Islamist government and rejects Israel’s existence.

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