Last Updated: October 19, 2023, 15:45 IST
A dentist from the US state of Florida was dismissed after he was filmed tearing down posters of Israeli hostages in Miami, according to The New York Post. Dr. Ahmed ElKoussa was caught removing banners of around 200 people kidnapped by Hamas, posted throughout Miami’s trendy Brickell neighborhood.
ElKoussa asserted his innocence, saying that his intention was to quell racially charged tensions in the city amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Following the release of the footage featuring ElKoussa and his counterpart Xave Ramoul, shared by pro-Israel social media accounts, ElKoussa was promptly fired from his position at a Coral Gables dentistry the next morning.
Miami – two men were spotted removing posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas in the Brickell area.The men appear to be dentist Ahmed ElKoussa (left) and Xave Ramoul (right). pic.twitter.com/cl2Sec8WlA
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 18, 2023
“We are very sad to see this situation upon waking up,” CG Smile said in a statement. “Our office CG Smile is not in favor of any of the actions taken by Dr. ElKoussa. We do not support terrorist groups, actions, or supporters. “He has been removed from our staff, all of our social media pages and groups.”
Notably, ElKoussa’s social media accounts have been taken down and a Yelp page for his dentistry has been flooded with negative reviews. ElKoussa, who has since apologised for hurting the Jewish community, claims he was acting in good faith when he and his friend tore the images down. The US dentist was compelled to act after learning that a 71-year-old landlord in Illinois fatally stabbed a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy and injured his mother because of their Muslim faith.
“His personal opinion was that posters from either side may potentially incite conflict and he did not want there to be any conflict escalation in his local community,” Hassan Shibly, ElKoussa’s lead attorney told The Post. “And he was concerned that those posters could potentially trigger conflict — rightfully or wrongfully, he was concerned that they would trigger and escalate conflict.”
US media reports said ElKoussa initially called the police to raise his concerns with the flyers and was told to either paste his own counter posters or take down the existing ones. “His intention was never to cause harm to anyone, nor did he at the time believe that doing so would do that. He was just concerned someone may see these posters and react with a hate crime and that may trigger a counter-hate crime and it just becomes endless conflict,” Shibly said.