Washington, Aug. 31 - The only two Muslim members of the U.S. Congress have written a letter to Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal urging the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
“We believe Hamas’ harsh treatment and five-year detention of Shalit is wrong,” states the letter by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) along with nine other prominent Muslim-Americans.
Shalit, who turned 25 this week, has been held by Hamas in Gaza since his kidnapping in a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006. The Iran-backed terror group has repeatedly refused requests for the Red Cross to ascertain Shalit’s condition in accordance with international law. Shalit holds Israeli and French citizenship.
The Aug. 26 missive, which quotes the Koran, also states that Shalit’s detention hurts the Palestinian statehood cause.
“Hamas’ inhumane detention of Shalit undermines the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for human rights and a state of their own, existing in peace and security beside Israel,” it states.
Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel for Shalit’s release have broken down several times.