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Maryland Senator Urges Egypt To Free Cleric Who Called For Murder Of Israelis

Democratic Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin called on the Egyptian government last Thursday to release a Muslim cleric who has historically made antisemitic statements and called for the murder of Israelis.
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Democratic Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin called on the Egyptian government last Thursday to release a Muslim cleric who has historically made antisemitic statements and called for the murder of Israelis.

Salah Soltan, a Muslim Brotherhood leader imprisoned in Egypt in 2013, has previously claimed that Jewish people use the blood of Christians to make bread for Passover and called for the killing of Jewish people and Israelis, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Soltan’s children have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, and his daughter-in-law has been a legislative aide to Cardin since last year.

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Soltan was imprisoned in 2013 as part of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s efforts to wipe out Muslim brotherhood opposition in the region, the Free Beacon reported. Cardin said Soltan should now be released as he has had a “change of heart,” according to a statement from last week.

“I welcome and embrace Salah Soltan’s change of heart…  I urge President Sisi to extend his presidential pardon to Soltan, so that he may leave Egypt and be reunited with his family,” Cardin said.

Soltan wrote a letter addressing his previous antisemitic statements and calls for violence, which Cardin obtained after it was smuggled out of Soltan’s prison, Cardin said.

“My previous statements and stances are wrong and the best of us are those who reflect, hold oneself accountable and repent,” reads Soltan’s letter. “Here I am, reflecting and seeking forgiveness from God for the harm that may have been inflicted upon anyone.”

In 2011, Soltan issued an Islamic decree demanding the murder of Israel’s ambassador and Israeli tourists in Egypt, the Free Beacon reported. In 2010, he made claims that Jewish people use the blood of Christians to make bread for Passover.

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“Any Zionist—tourist or other—who enters Egypt must be killed. We will not kill tourists from any [other] country,” Soltan said, according to the Free Beacon. “We stress that this fatwa is directed only toward those Zionists who destroyed our country, killed our people, and shed our blood on our land.”

Aside from Cardin, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called for Soltan’s release and said they were “deeply concerned” about his health in a Twitter post on May 11.

Months before the Twitter post, Soltan’s son, Mohamed, donated thousands of dollars to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to the Free Beacon. Mohamed also donated thousands to Democratic Virginia Rep. Don Beyer in 2021, who tweeted in May that Soltan “should have never been imprisoned to begin with.”

Soltan’s daughter gave $47,000 to President Biden’s campaign and $18,000 to the Democratic National Convention, according to the Free Beacon. His daughter-in-law is currently a legislative aide at Cardin’s office.

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