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Jets' Oday Aboushi slams report on his political beliefs

Oday Aboushi should be in the process of preparing for his rookie season with the New York Jets. Instead, the fifth-round draft pick is answering accusations about his political beliefs.

The Brooklyn-born Aboushi is one of a handful of Palestinian-Americans to be drafted by an NFL team. This week, FrontPage Magazine, a conservative political website, published a report that portrayed Aboushi as a Muslim extremist who uses social media to promote an anti-Semitic agenda.

The magazine's web post gained traction when other media outlets picked up on the report.

"My family's been just as shocked by the lies and smears as I've been," Aboushi said Friday in a phone interview with the New York Post. "I don't think I'm radical at all. I have never done any radical behavior. For the writer to come out and claim that just builds lies on top of the lies."

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement Friday dismissing the FrontPage Magazine report as "unfair and farfetched."

"There's a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about Jets lineman Oday Aboushi," an excerpt from the statement read. "Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests that Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage."

The Jets released their own statement on the matter.

"The New York Jets strongly believe in diversity, inclusion and tolerance of others," the statement read. "We also encourage all of our employees to use good judgment when exercising their rights to freedom of expression and speech to be certain that they are constructive and respectful."

According to the Post, the Jets said they have given "no thought" to releasing Aboushi, who is scheduled to report to training camp with the rest of the team's rookie players on July 22.

"My feelings are very fair -- I wish both sides (in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) would come to a peaceful agreement and both live in peace," Aboushi said. "I want to see them live together in harmony and enjoy the land instead of focusing on conflict with each other."

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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