17th December 1998
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has expressed its grave concern over the unilateral US/British bombardment of Iraq. The MCB is appalled by the cynical way President Clinton has once again put innocent lives in danger in order to divert attention from his own domestic political difficulties.
However, the MCB notes with greater regret its own government’s uncritical support for the American action, which has left it isolated in the international community. The Council particularly notes the haste with which the whole operation was undertaken while the UN Security Council had yet to debate the UNSCOM Report and decide on any future course of action.
The scale and swiftness of the action is in marked contrast with the other serious violations of international legality in, for example, Kosovo, Kashmir and Palestine. Regrettably, this policy of double standards does not bode well for the future of International Order.
Past experience has conclusively demonstrated that such periodic bombings have only added to the misery of the common Iraqi people without achieving any of the stated objectives. Since the Gulf War almost 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed (including 500,000 children) and destruction has been wrought upon Iraq’s human and social infrastructure. The Council joins with other religious and humanitarian groups in urging that the policy of the collective punishment of the Iraqi people by sanctions be rescinded.
The timing of the bombing, just days before the Holy month of Ramadan, is also deeply offensive. As Ramadan and Christmas approach the Council’s thoughts are with the suffering Iraqi people, both Muslim and Christian. The Council also urges the media to act responsibly and not to incite hatred and Islamophobia as has happened during the past.