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From the news

Two articles from the BBC:
*       Uranium blamed for Gulf War Syndrome
*       UK Muslims 'opposed bombing of Iraq' - UK Muslim leader denies
Fatchett's claims that UK Muslims supported the bombing (extract)

BBC Online, Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 23:00 GMT 
Uranium blamed for Gulf War Syndrome 

Exploding missiles tipped with uranium exposed servicemen to the toxic
By the BBC's John McIntyre 

Sixteen British Gulf War veterans say they have proof they are suffering
from radiation poisoning, caused by materials in the weapons used by the
Allies. The men believe this could be a factor
in Gulf War Syndrome, the condition which thousands of soldiers say they
developed after serving in the region. In Iraq, doctors also say
children have been deformed by the same radiation. Shaun Rusling served
in the Gulf War and today, he takes a dozen different drugs to treat a
catalogue of illnesses, from chronic fatigue and post-traumatic stress
disorder to problems with the nervous system and depression. Doctors
have diagnosed him as suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. The Ministry of
Defence says the syndrome as such does not exist, so Mr Rusling and two
of his fellow Gulf veterans, Mike Kirkby and Mike Burrows, have been
desperately seeking reasons for the illnesses since their return from
the war zone. They say independent tests carried out in Canada revealing
they and 13 other veterans have uranium radiation poisoning may at last
provide some answers. 

Independent diagnosis 

Mr Rusling says: "Basically we have just been diagnosed with a bone
disease...that is where depleted uranium finishes - in your bones. "I'm
saddened by our treatment by the Ministry of Defence because we went out
to do our job. "I treated Iraqi casualties with more care and compassion
than this government has treated me," he adds. Mr Rusling believes it
was while serving with a field hospital unit that he was exposed to
depleted uranium in dust form. 

Exposure to toxic metal 

A by-product of weapons grade uranium, which in most forms is perfectly
safe to handle, depleted uranium was used by British and American forces
on the tips of missiles to devastating effect. Controversially, the
veterans say they ingested tiny particles of the toxic metal after the
missiles burned up in the atmosphere. Mr Kirkby says: "They were blowing
locations up and we were driving through bodies and blown -up tanks. You
were breathing all the smoke and the dust off the sand." 

More than coincidence 

In Iraq, there is no shortage of tragic stories about families whose
children have a wide range of birth deformities. Professor Selma Al-Tah,
a paediatrician in Baghdad, believes her studies demonstrate a link with
depleted uranium and the many terrible genetic defects. "A lot of cases
are really monsters. Some of them have no necks, their appearance or
their facial appearance is completely distorted", she says. No matter
how many examples there are of terrible deformities or leukemia, Iraq's
hospitals are so badly off that proving a link with depleted uranium
will be difficult, if not impossible, without the proper resources. But
the fact that similar cases have also been identified among the families
of British and American soldiers who served during the Gulf War, is
regarded as too much of a coincidence. The Ministry of Defence's medical
team is highly sceptical about these latest reports. However, a
spokesman said it would be happy to study any new tests which may shed
light on the many and varied conditions affecting Gulf War veterans. 

Fury over denial 

On Tuesday, families of veterans also criticised a government report,
released last week, which said Gulf War Syndrome did not exist in the
form of one condition. The report, by doctors working in the Ministry of
Defence's Medical Assessment Programme and released last Thursday, said
soldiers who fought in the 1991 war had developed illnesses, but no
single psychological or physiological cause was found. The National Gulf
Veterans and Families Association said the report was "an outrageous
attempt to cover up Gulf War illness".

BBC Online: Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 17:46 GMT
UK Muslims 'opposed bombing of Iraq'

An Islamic leader has rejected claims by Foreign Office minister Derek
Fatchett that Anglo-American attacks on Iraq were backed by the British
Muslim community. The minister was speaking at the unveiling of a
six-month programme of cultural events organised by the British Council
with the aim of improving the image of Muslims in the UK. Dr Yaqub Zaki,
the Deputy Leader of the Islamic Parliament of Great Britain and the
Muslim Institute, told BBC News Online: "You cannot get more anti-Saddam
than me, but I and I would say 98% of British Muslims are opposed to the
attacks on Iraq. "I was shot at by Iraqi forces when they invaded Iran
in 1982. I think Saddam Hussein is a monster - who was supported by the
West for a long time - but I am totally opposed to the bombing of Iraqi
civilians." Dr Zaki, was speaking after Mr Fatchett rejected suggestions
that Britain's part in Operation Desert Fox on Iraq was opposed by
British Muslims. 

Mr Fatchett said: "I think there's a deep understanding of the threat
that Saddam Hussein represents to Islam in terms of its public
projection, but also to Muslims as individuals and collectively. "The
sad fact is that as a fellow Muslim, Saddam Hussein has killed, I
suspect, more Muslims than any other person this century. "The Muslim
community understands that and doesn't fall into simple stereotypes." 

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