Former President of the Islamic Association for Palestine
Co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
“Fighting for freedom…fighting for Islam – that is not suicide. They [the suicide bombers] kill themselves for Islam.”
A well-known activist in the San Francisco Bay area, Omar Ahmad is the former President of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and was a co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He chaired the CAIR Board of Directors from 1994 to May 2005. Ahmad, who holds a master’s degree in computer engineering, is also the founder, President and CEO of a software technology company in the Silicon Valley.
In Ahmad's view, “one of the challenges” that Muslims face “is understanding the totality of Islam.” “Don't come up with an opinion and find out the things that support it in Islam," he says. “Everything we need to know is in the Koran. We don’t need to look somewhere else.”
During a youth session at IAP’s third annual convention in Chicago in November 1999, Ahmad delivered a speech praising suicide bombers. “Fighting for freedom,” he said, “fighting for Islam -- that is not suicide. They [the suicide bombers] kill themselves for Islam.” (cited in Jihad in America by Steven Emerson)
According to a July 1998 news report, Ahmad -- in a speech titled “How Should We, As Muslims, Live in America?” -- stated the following: “If you choose to live here [in the U.S.] … you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam.” “Islam isn’t in America,” he continued, “to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
After news of his alleged comments became widely publicized, Ahmad said that the attribution of those words to him was a "total fabrication." The reporter, however, stood by her story. "She's lying," Ahmad retorted. "Absolutely, she's lying. …It is not my stance, it is not what I believe in. …The year before [the 1998 event] I was a commissioner for my city and took an oath on the constitution and never had a problem. It doesn't make sense for me to think that way. I was shocked to hear somebody reported that."