Arizona Representative 'must be expelled' after calling for dismantling of Al-Aqsa mosque
The US' largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organisation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has demanded the expulsion of Representative Paul Gosar from US Congress after he called for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Arizona Republican Gosar, a Trump loyalist and right-wing politician, called on the UN to find ways "to dismantle and move that mosque, which is an affront to all religions".
He said it was "an abomination that a mosque was allowed to be built over [a] temple" and attacked the UN for using the Arabic name of the compound, "Haram al-Sharif".
Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the holiest sites in Islam and is on the site of Temple Mount, considered sacred by Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Al-Aqsa has witnessed several Israeli attacks against Palestinian protesters and worshippers in recent months.
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in response: "There should be no room in Congress for those who incite religious violence and use Islamophobia as a tool to gain influence.
"Representative Gosar's call for the destruction of an Islamic holy site may be just another attempt by a political extremist to gain cheap publicity, but he still must be expelled and repudiated by state and national Republican leaders."
Awad urged the US Congress to react proportionally, comparing the incident to a call for the destruction of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity’s holiest sites, or the Western Wall, a sacred place for Jews.
Last month, Gosar was formally censured and stripped of committee assignments for posting an animated video that depicts him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking US President Joe Biden.
A censure against the Congressman is the harshest form of punishment the chamber can hand out, short of expulsion.
Gosar's comments follow a vulgar anti-Muslim attack from Republican Lauren Boebert in November, who said her follow Representative Ilhan Omar was part of the "Jihad squad" and insinuated she is a "terrorist".
Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, is facing possible disciplinary action for her incendiary remarks, with progressives calling for a resolution to strip her of committee assignments.
CAIR and other advocacy organisations are supporting Representative Ilhan Omar and Jan Schakowsky's Combating International Islamophobia Act that would establish a special envoy office at the US State Department to monitor and combat international Islamophobia.