(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/15/04) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights
and advocacy group today called on American military authorities in Iraq to
lift the ban on delivery of humanitarian relief supplies to the people of
SEE: "Relief convoy Turned Back from Fallujah: Red Cross"
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also
called for an independent probe of allegations by Amnesty International
(AI) and human rights experts that both sides in the recent fighting have
violated the rules of war.
SEE: "Fears of Serious Violations of the Rules of War in Falluja"
"Rights Lawyers See Possibility of a War Crime"
Media reports indicate that U.S. troops have blocked aid convoys trying to
reach people trapped in Fallujah and that some military personnel may have
A Baghdad spokesman for the Red Cross told Associated Press that ambulances
and trucks carrying supplies got only as far as the hospital on the edge of
the city before being stopped. An Associated Press photographer said he
watched in horror as a family of five was shot dead by American helicopters
as they tried to cross Euphrates River, which flows on the western side of
SEE: "AP Photog Escapes Fallujah"
A Reuters correspondent said a drive through the city "reveals a picture of
utter destruction, with concrete houses flattened, mosques in ruins,
telegraph poles blown over, power and phone lines hanging slack and rubble
and human remains littering the empty streets." Fallujah residents
contacted by Reuters on Sunday said their children were suffering from
diarrhea and had not eaten for days.
SEE: "A City Lies in Ruins, Along with the Lives of the Wretched Survivors"
According to one Iraqi journalist quoted by The Observer newspaper,
civilian casualties were caused by the massive firepower directed at
Fallujah neighborhoods during the battle. "If the fighters fire a mortar,
US forces respond with huge force," said the journalist, who asked not to
SEE: "Civilian Cost of Battle for Falluja Emerges"
"Fallujah Turned into Disaster area"
"Inside Fallujah: One Family's Diary of Terror"
In its statement, CAIR said:
"The desperate situation that now exists in the city of Fallujah requires
that all impediments to the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies be
lifted immediately. We call on American military authorities to do whatever
is necessary to ensure that those supplies reach Iraqi civilians who are
suffering and dying today in that city.
"It is also essential that reports of attacks on civilians be investigated
thoroughly by an independent international body and the results of that
investigation be made known. There must be an accounting of civilian
casualties in Fallujah and those forced to flee their homes must be allowed
to return. American journalists embedded with our military should also
examine the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians.
"We call on President Bush, elected officials and all Americans of
conscience to re-think our disastrous policies in Iraq and to recognize
that those policies are making us less safe and less respected as a nation."
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 29 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue,
protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions
that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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