The issue with the President’s determination to go to war against Iraq is not the haste of his decision (Jacoby, 2/2/03), but rather the absence of convincing evidence to date of any clear and imminent danger, and his silence on the broader consequences of such an act.
As loyal citizens of this country, we believe that for the United States to go to war at this juncture without the full backing of the United Nations, notwithstanding Secretary Powell’s most recent indictments, would have catastrophic consequences. For all Americans it would mean an intensification of their severe economic hardships, but this would be overshadowed by the tragic loss of American lives in a war that has yet to be shown to threaten us in any direct way.
For Iraqi civilians, the prospect of facing the onslaught by the US military in what has euphemistically been described as “a shock and awe” operation is no less terrifying than the life of brutal dictatorship to which they have been subjected for so long.
For the Arab and Muslim worlds, such unadulterated warmongering against the Iraqis with a docile acceptance of North Korea’s aggressiveness would look like selective racism and a crusade against Islam, respectively. It would serve merely to reinforce the distorted agenda of extremists and reduce our hopes of eradicating the scourge of terrorism.
For Muslim Americans, accustomed to being targeted after the Gulf war, and vilified after 911, there is a sense of resignation to the fact that if Bush’s war does not pan out as scheduled, they could well face an internment as the Japanese Americans did during World War II.
Given the level of disinformation on Islam, and the contempt with which Muslims are depicted, it might appear unpatriotic for us to challenge the drumbeat to war. On the other hand, our Islamic principles demand that, in fearing none but God we should speak out against what we perceive as grave injustices about to be committed. It would, thus, be an act not only of disobedience to God, but treason against our own country to remain silent when we fail to express our concerns in what we believe to be in the best
interest of our country and the world at large.
Imam Abdullah Taalib Faruuq, President
Abdul Cader Asmal, Chairman of Communications
Islamic Council of New England