The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] British Muslims fear conflict for generations

Dear list

I'm sure this report in today's Guardian newspaper will be included in
Peter Brooke's news roundup, so forgive the duplication.  But I'd like
to draw your attention to it because it summarises so well the opinions
of many 'ordinary' moderate Muslims living in Britain.

In peace and hope
Cathy Aitchison


British Muslims fear conflict for generations
Jeevan Vasagar
Tuesday January 14, 2003
The Guardian

Britain's biggest Muslim organisation yesterday warned Tony Blair that
war with Iraq would cause community relations to deteriorate and breed
"bitterness and conflict for generations to come".

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain,
urged the prime minister to use his influence to "avert the destruction
of an important Muslim country" and warned of deep cynicism among
British Muslims about the motives for the war on terror.

In a letter to No 10, Mr Sacranie described the plans for war as a
"colonial policy".

"It is generally believed the real American objective behind such an
invasion is to change the political map of the Middle East, appropriate
its oil wealth and appoint Israel as a regional superpower exercising
total hegemony over the entire Middle East and beyond," he wrote.

A war would worsen relations between communities and faiths in Britain
as well as causing "lasting damage" to relations between the Muslim
world and the west, Mr Sacranie added.

The opposition of the MCB, a moderate organisation linked to dozens of
community groups, highlights the failure of the US and Britain to
convince Muslims in the west of the validity of the war on terrorism.

Seven out of 10 British Muslims believe the war on terror is a war on
Islam, according to an ICM poll published last month.

In the letter, Mr Sacranie expressed support for the anti-terrorist
campaign, but wrote: "The war on terror should and can be won, but it
has to be fought collectively not selectively, openly not secretively."

He told the Guardian that when he referred to fighting terrorism
"collectively" he meant "in all areas, whether it is states - like
Israel - or organisations."

Mr Sacranie said he did not believe there should be war even if Iraq was
found to possess weapons of mass destruction.

"If WMD are being got rid of, all countries have to get rid of them, and
war is not the way to go about this.

"If we are talking about the region, Israel has chemical, biological and
nuclear weapons."

He also criticised the chief rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, who has expressed
conditional support for military action against Saddam Hussein.

"We are very saddened by the remarks made by the chief rabbi," Mr
Sacranie said.

The MCB's letter praised Mr Blair's attempt to revive the Middle East
peace process, but added: "A war on Iraq would certainly unravel
whatever little has been achieved so far.

"The humiliation ... that would attend a military conquest is likely to
provide a natural ground for the growth of bitterness and conflict for
generations to come."

Both President George Bush and Mr Blair have stated that the prospective
campaign against Iraq is directed at Saddam Hussein's regime and is not
a conflict with the wider Muslim world.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The prime minister has made clear
that this is not about a war against Islam.

"The government has done lots of work with the Muslim community here and
with the Arab world and will continue to do so."

Cathy Aitchison
Aitchison Media & Development
020 8685 9928

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]