Religious Leaders Speak Out as War in Iraq Commences

March 22, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times,0,436663.story

On March 22, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that "prayers go out for civilians and for the U.S. troops in Iraq. But some from various denominations oppose Bush's actions... Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles: 'With American troops in harm's way, let us pray earnestly for a quick resolution to the present conflict in Iraq with a minimum amount of bloodshed on both sides. We pray for our military personnel and for their families. May God keep them safe from harm and bring them home to us as soon as possible. We also pray for the long-suffering Iraqi people. May God comfort them in this time of uncertainty and fear. This military intervention must be followed by serious, long-term efforts by the U.S. and other countries to create a just peace in Iraq and the region. Failure to do so may further destabilize the Middle East and fuel distrust of Western motives and intentions...' Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington: 'In the international arena, any attack on Iraq will almost certainly lead to the unnecessary death of Iraqi civilians and American military personnel, further destabilize an already unstable region, harm long-standing international alliances and treaties and set a dangerous precedent for unilateral intervention in the affairs of other nations. The chaos caused by a war could also provide cover for even greater Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. On the domestic front, a war and occupation will drain much-needed financial resources from our struggling economy and could fuel a backlash against innocent American Muslims, Arab Americans and those perceived to be 'Middle Eastern.' A conflict could also be used to justify further erosions of our civil and religious rights. No one in the American Muslim community supports the brutal dictatorship currently imposing itself on the long-suffering people of Iraq. But distaste for the Iraqi regime's murderous policies is not sufficient justification for an invasion of that country.'" More statements can be found in the article.