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Imam Fawaz Damra
1.18.02
Society and Community:
Transcript: Radical Imam?
More on This Story:
Imam Fawaz Damra

Transcript

Fawaz Damra: The tape shows an angry man who is frustrated because of what's happening in his homeland. Anybody knows the situation there would expect somebody who's coming from a ghetto in a Palestinian city have no contact whatsoever with people of different faith, knowing, seeing the humanity in people of different faith be it Jews or Christians or others - somebody who was living in isolation; somebody who is coming new to this country wanting to express his anger.

Fawaz Damra: Nevertheless, I think those statements are indefensible and I regret saying what I said in that tape because that is not what my faith teaches me, not what civilized society stands for.

Narrator: A few days later Damra publicly apologized for his words explaining that his life was transformed while attending Hartford Seminary - an institution renowned for its multi-faith environment.

Martin Plax: What bothers me about the thing to this day is that he was basically raising money for murder.

Narrator: Still not everyone was satisfied - seeing this kind of rage coming from a man of God deepened their suspicion.

Martin Plax: For me it is the question: "so what's the truth?" And I guess the ambiguity of I don't know that I can trust him any longer.

Fawaz Damra: I never raise money to any terrorist organization. I never raised money to any organization that is listed in the United States as organizations support terrorism. Back then, 10 years ago, I raised money to the Palestinian orphans and to the Palestinians whose homes were damaged and destroyed.

Narrator: In 1991, the year the tape was recorded, neither Islamic Jihad, Hamas nor Hezbollah were classified by the state department as terrorist organizations. Damra says if so, he would have never supported them.

Fawaz Damra: Any organization that's suspected of supporting terrorism, I always speak against this type of organization. Anyone who suggests otherwise, he does not know me.


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