Religious Leaders, Peace Groups, Grassroots Movement Demand: “Lift The Sanctions On Iraq”
Washington, D.C., April 27 — At a press conference in Washington, D.C. today, church and Muslim leaders joined forces with peace and human rights groups to announce a national week of actions to promote the end of the cruel and illegal economic sanctions against Iraqi civilians.
Church leaders including Auxiliary Bishop P. Francis Murphy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore; Rev. Thom Whitewolf Fassett, United Methodist Church; and Rev. John Dear, Fellowship of Reconciliation; joined Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness; Hussein Ibish of ADC; Gordon Clark of Peace Action; and Dr. Hassan Ibrahim, All Dulles Area Muslim Society Committee at the press conference, to add their voices to the growing chorus demanding an end to sanctions.
According to U.N. officials, the sanctions on Iraq are the most severe trading restrictions ever imposed on any nation and are responsible for the death of an estimated one million Iraqis. UNICEF has reported that as many as 5,000 children die each month as a result of the sanctions.
This week of actions is designed to bring together the community of conscience in the United States in opposition to this indefensible policy. ADC Media Director Hussein Ibish said, “We come together in hopes of building momentum towards lifting the sanctions, and demonstrating to the public, media and government that there is a growing community of concern that is determined to end the sanctions against Iraq.”
Hundreds of activists across the nation will challenge the sanctions by attempting to mail aspirin, bandages, lead pencils, school notebooks, and chlorine bleach to Iraq via the U.S. Postal Service, which is banned from mailing anything of value to Iraq. Organizers expect postal officials to rebuff them, but hope that this will highlight the inhumanity of the policy. The day of Post Office actions and press conference falls in the midst of a week of coordinated student actions on more than 100 campuses nationwide, as well as a series of Congressional lobby days.
Kathy Kelly described Iraqi hospitals, deprived of medicine and other essential supplies, as “a death row for infants.” Rev. John Dear compared the needless deaths of the countless Iraqi children to the victims of the recent school shootings in Littleton, saying, “we have to teach our kids not to kill kids, and we say to President Clinton: stop killing kids in Iraq.”