Muslims around the region Tuesday lamented President Bush’s veto of a bill that set a timeline for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

“There is no military solution,” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council. “Right now the military operations are just that – operations. The operation can be a success but the patient is dead.”

Al-Marayati said the ongoing violence is not a reflection on the capabilities of American soldiers, but that the conflict in Iraq can not be solved with military action.

“Our military is wonderful. It’s made up of dedicated young men and women,” he said. But, he said, the resolution of Iraq’s crisis must “be done through political channels.”

One of the necessary ingredients of that is the involvement of the American Muslim community, he said.

“That engagement has been missing,” he said. “We have a lot to offer.” . . .

Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Southern California Council on American Islamic Relations, said most Muslims agree the presence of the American troops in Iraq is causing more hostility.

Setting a timetable “doesn’t mean they have to withdraw tomorrow, but it means that we have to have a clearly set strategy on how and when we need to withdraw,” he said. “This is what Iraqis are asking for and this is what Americans are demanding.”


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