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Muslim group lends support to Iraqi people

Gulf News

Referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as an "oppressive ruler", Filipino-Muslims belonging to the group, Maradeka, yesterday said protests against the U.S. plan to attack Iraq are on behalf of the Iraqi people who are "weak and oppressed".

"Muslims generally may not like Iraq's Saddam Hussein, but the fundamental right of the Iraqi people to live with dignity far from undue recourse to a war of aggression is inviolable in Islam," Nash Pangadapun, Maradeka secretary general, said in a statement.

Pangadapun said the U.S. and its major allies "will never get true security and safety because of (their) arrogant foreign policy (that) oppresses other people".

Describing Washington's belligerent stance against Iraq as U.S. President George Bush's sabre-rattling, Pangadapun stressed that Muslims all over the world will not allow the Americans to further their "scheme for world domination and total control of the oil-rich Arab region".

He stressed, however, that Saddam's "murderous acts" would have an even more devastating effect on the world economy.

Pangadapun said that here in the Philippines, Muslims comprise the largest minority of 14 million, represented mostly by the Bangsa Moro People in Mindanao.

Maradeka members urged the Presidential Palace to withdraw its support for Washington, saying it has been "meddling in the U.S.-Iraq imbroglio".

"President Gloria Arroyo should put the Philippines in a neutral position, considering the sensitivity of the Muslim populace and the welfare of the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and the economic welfare of their families," Panagadapun advised.