23rd December 1998
As repercussions over the US/UK bombing in Iraq continue, a delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) expressed the grave concerns of their community at a special meeting called by Mike O’Brien, Minister with responsibility for race and community relations.
The delegation, led by Mr Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the MCB, raised with Mr O’Brien the strong concern felt by the nation and particularly Muslims at the governments decision to join the unilateral action of the United States, outside the UN.
The double standards in applying sanctions and force mainly against nations such as Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan while ignoring serious violations of human rights and international legality in places such as Kosovo, Kashmir and Palestine were also raised.
The delegation made it clear that their sympathy lies solely with the innocent victims of the conflict and echoed the general feeling that the bombings and sanctions would only have the effect of exacerbating the appalling suffering of ordinary Iraqi’s, including women and children, and should both be immediately ended.
The Minister said that the government appreciated the views of the Muslim community as well as their contribution to the life of this country and believes in a policy of regular dialogue with the community.
Summing up the meeting, Mr Sacranie said, “I am hopeful that the government has heard and understood the communities outrage and will take into account the feelings of British Muslims in its pursuit of an independent and ethical foreign policy”.
The delegation consisted of Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Mr Yusuf Al-Khoei of the Al-Khoei Foundation, Mr Iqbal Asaria a member of the Shia Ithna-Ashari community and Mr Tanzeem Wasti, convenor of the MCB’s International Affairs committee.