British Muslims Urge Prime Minister To Avert War

13 Jan 2003

In a letter today to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the Muslim Council of Britain expressed their appreciation for his efforts towards restraining an American administration that had seemed bent upon invading Iraq from the moment the September 11 atrocities occurred, irrespective of world opinion or international law.

“Your very public call upon the US to pay attention to the deeply felt doubts and concerns of the Muslim world creates a hope that war and catastrophe in Iraq may yet be averted… even at this eleventh hour we urge the optimum use of your unique position to avert the destruction of an important Muslim country, notwithstanding the odious regime it happens to be caught up with,” said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the MCB.

“While the military occupation of Iraq may help secure increased supplies of cheap oil and create trillions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts, the human costs and lasting damage this would cause to US relations with the Muslim world would be incalculable. The MCB was loath to contemplate what this would also do to Britain’s economic and bi-lateral relations with the Muslim world,” said Mr Sacranie.

“After Jack Straw boldly admitted British responsibility for creating the conflict in the region, notably in Palestine, it seems incredible that we should revive the very same colonial polices in the Muslim world… The humiliation and bitterness that would attend a military conquest is likely to provide a natural ground for the growth of bitterness and conflict for generations to come,” added Mr Sacranie.

The letter also drew attention to the plight of the innocent Iraqi people many of whom have been the victims of repeated Anglo-American bombings and more than a decade long inhuman economic sanctions. This surely qualified as “collective punishment” – a crime outlawed under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Highlighting the strong concern about the double standards being applied by the West, Mr Sacranie said that:

“When it comes to Iraq we have been swift to obtain and implement UN resolutions, according to our own interpretations. On the other hand, we have constantly ignored those very resolutions, which were drafted by British diplomats concerning the freedom and fundamental rights of the Palestinian and Kashmiri peoples. We have also failed to demonstrate any political, let alone moral concern, for the daily regime of killings and atrocities carried out by the occupation forces in Palestine and Kashmir. We in the MCB believe that the ‘war on terror’ should and can be won, but it has to be fought collectively not selectively; openly not secretively.”

The Prime Minister was advised that this was an opportunity to restore international confidence in the integrity of British foreign policy. By taking the lead in averting a war against Iraq and promoting genuine peace and justice in the Middle East, the Prime Minister would not only win the hearts of humanity but also a pride of place in its history.

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For further information please contact the MCB on 07734 219338 or 07956 353738