American Muslims Urge Hamas to Return Fallen Israeli Soldiers’ Bodies

Ten American Muslim leaders including two congressmen have appealed to Palestinians to return the remains of two Israeli soldiers to their families.

“In the name of Almighty God the most merciful and compassionate, we appeal to you on the basis of humanity and charity to release the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two Israeli soldiers killed in action, to their families,” the group said in a letter on September 21 to Khaled Mashaal, a prominent Hamas leader.

“Both Israelis and Palestinians have felt the pain of war, of losing loved ones and children far too soon,” the letter continued. “The Holy Quran reminds us that ‘whoever pardons and makes reconciliation will receive his reward from Allah.’ We ask you to act upon these words and allow the Goldin and Shaul families to bury their loved ones.”

The letter did not initiate with the 10, but was part of a movement begun by Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. His organization started Muslims Are Speaking Out, a movement designed to empower Muslims to speak out against terrorism and extremism.

Schneier made the letter public at the Israeli American Council National Conference in Washington DC last weekend. He said major American Muslim organizations have already backed the initiative, including the Iranian Students’ News Agency and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Goldin’s parents were in attendance. Shaul and Goldin were killed two years ago during Operation Protective Edge between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“Here, in the presence of the Goldin family, I am proud to share that many of the most prominent leaders of America’s Muslim community have joined their humanitarian campaign,” Schneier said. “We are hopeful that these voices can make an impact in bringing Hadar and Oron home.”

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Andre Carson, D-Ind., were two of the prominent signatories on the letter.