RICHMOND, Va. — A member of the state's Commission of Immigration resigned Thursday, a few hours after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was told about online videos showing the appointee condemning Israel and advocating "the jihad way."
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Kaine learned of the videos from a caller to his live monthly radio program and accepted the resignation of Dr. Esam S. Omeish about three hours later.
"Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me," Kaine said in a news release announcing the resignation.
The governor said Omeish resigned because he did not want the controversy to distract from the work of the 20-member commission appointed to study the effects of immigration and federal immigration policies on Virginia.
Omeish, who is president of the Muslim American Society and chief of the division of general surgery at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, is shown in a video on YouTube denouncing an invasion of Lebanon by the "Israeli war machine" during an Aug. 12, 2006, rally in Washington.
He also accuses Israel of genocide and massacres against Palestinians and says on the video that the "Israeli agenda" controls Congress.
In a separate, undated video, Omeish tells a crowd of Washington-area Muslims, "...you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land." The video was credited to Investigative Project, a Washington-based organization that investigates radical Islamic organizations.
Omeish did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mahdi Bray, a spokesman for the MAS, said Omeish was not available.
Omeish was among 10 appointments Kaine made on Aug. 2 to the panel created this year. The commission met in Richmond for the first time Tuesday.
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