(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/19/04) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights
and advocacy group today condemned an attack on a Baghdad mosque by U.S.
and Iraqi forces that resulted in the deaths of at least four worshipers.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said
media reports indicate that soldiers opened fire when angry worshippers
shouted “God is Great” and tried to beat back troops by throwing shoes at them.
Witnesses to the attack say soldiers denied Iraqi Red Crescent medical
teams access to the mosque and said pieces of brain were splattered on one
of the mosque’s walls. (Article 63 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits
blocking medical and relief activities.)
SEE: “As U.S. Forces Raided a Mosque”
“US, Iraqi Troops Raid Baghdad Mosque, Kill Four”
In its statement, CAIR said:
“An attack on worshippers after Friday prayers is an act of religious
provocation and likely to be counterproductive. This incident may inflame
Muslim public opinion at a time when all parties to the conflict should
seek peace and reconciliation.
“Violating the sanctity of a mosque by firing on unarmed worshippers will
only help to reinforce the perception held by many in the Muslim world that
the war on terror is turning into a war on Islam.”
Earlier this week, CAIR called for an independent probe of allegations by
human rights groups that both sides in the recent fighting have violated
the rules of war. SEE: http://cair-net.org/asp/article.asp?id=1324&page=NR
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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