President Biden sent top aides to Michigan on Thursday to meet with Arab American and Muslim community leaders, and one person reportedly invited to the discussion has publicly expressed support for the terror group Hezbollah.
Biden made the move with the leaders as he’s faced criticism from the Muslim community over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. The Associated Press, which first reported the forum, noted the event positions the administration to “mend ties” with a community that will play a critical role in a battleground state for the 2024 elections.
While the list of attendees was not released, one individual the White House reportedly invited to the event was Osama Siblani, the publisher of Arab American News headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.
“I’m for the dialogue, and I believe we owe it to our country and to our community and the people in Gaza, to listen and be heard,” Siblani said of the gathering. He told the outlet the White House invited him, and he planned to attend.
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Siblani, meanwhile, appears to be a questionable choice as a participant, as he’s openly discussed his support for Hezbollah with mainstream publications in the past.
The Muslim activist came out in support of the organization in 2006 as they fought Israeli forces in southern Lebanon. At the time, the FBI had issued a national alert for law enforcement to investigate and profile Hezbollah sympathizers.
“If the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of buses,” Siblani told the Chicago Tribune. “I, for one, would be willing to go to jail.”
That instance, however, was not the first time he had supported the terror organization.
Siblani told the Washington Post in 2004 that Al Manar, Hezbollah’s TV station, had popularity among Arab Americans because of its unwavering support for “resistance against Israeli occupation.”
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Siblani’s show of gratitude toward Al Manar came after the State Department designated the outlet a terror supporter and banned it in the United States.
He also added that he disagreed with the State Department that Al Manar “incites violence.”
The White House organized the Thursday discussion between Siblani and the community leaders and senior-level Biden aides such as Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Jon Finer, the principal deputy national security adviser, and Steven Benjamin, the director of the Office of Public Engagement.
The sources who spoke to The Associated Press did so under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
“Joe Biden is a traitor to America,” Alex Pfeiffer, spokesman for Make America Great Again Inc., told Fox News Digital. “After spending decades enriching himself and his family through corrupt dealings with America’s enemies, he is now selling out America’s closest ally and friend to terrorists.”
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“This meeting is an affront to the dozens of Americans and hundreds of Israelis who lost their lives on Oct. 7, and the millions of Israelis who wake up every morning under siege by Islamic terrorism,” Pfeiffer said.
The White House and Siblani did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment by the time of publication.