February 9, 1998


By Shahid Athar

The World Muslim Congress is fully aware of the deteriorating situation in Iraq and possible use of force by the United States to enforce inspection.

We are opposed to the use of chemical and biological weapons, and land mines, and we are not supporters of President Saddam Hussain either. However, we feel that punishing helpless people in order to punish a dictator is immoral.

Because of the Gulf War and continued sanctions, 500,000 Iraqis including 200, 000 children have died so far. Four million Iraqis are under the threat of a famine worse than Somalia and Ethiopia. According to UNICEF and FAO, 29% of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition and 70% of pregnant women have anemia. Children are born with birth defects due to biological and nuclear pollution of Iraqi waters during the Gulf War as reported by the Edge Gallery Institute and the British Atomic Agency. The use of military force by the United States and its allies will further aggravate the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Thus in the name of our common God, God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, and all of us, we urge the United States and its allies to use restraint and do their best to solve this crisis peacefully with negotiations.

"Blessed are the peacemakers".

Shahid Athar, M.D.
U.S. Representative, WMC