Methodist concern over escalating violence in Iraq - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
April 15, 2004

Methodist concern over escalating violence in Iraq

-15/4/04

The Methodist Church in the UK has expressed concern over the escalating violence in Iraq, and responded to news carried by Ekklesia about civilian casualties in Fallujah.

On Wednesday morning Ekklesia issued a press release containing reports from Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq that women and children had been killed in Fallujah by US forces.

In a statement from the Methodist church Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs said: ìThere are alarming reports concerning civilian casualties as a result of offensive military operations in Fallujah.

"According to some sources, half of the 600 people killed in Fallujah in the past two weeks were women and children.

He continued; "

"The coalition forces have stated that they will consider an assault on Najaf to capture Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. While recognising the extremely difficult task of facing the coalition forces in a hostile environment, we nevertheless call on the military only to undertake operations when it is feasible to discriminate between armed militias and civilian by-standers."

Anthea Cox, Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice also said;ìThe escalating violence in Iraq is giving many Methodists cause for concern. For those who campaigned against military action the current situation confirms their worst fears.

"Recent statements from the President of the United States continue to link the violence of a minority in Iraq with global terrorist threats. Many people remain to be convinced by this argument. Meanwhile there are real fears that recent offensive operations carried out by US forces are bolstering support for militant groups.

"The Methodist Church reiterates the importance of the crucial role of the United Nations in the handover of authority to Iraqi administration at the end of June.î

Methodist concern over escalating violence in Iraq

-15/4/04

The Methodist Church in the UK has expressed concern over the escalating violence in Iraq, and responded to news carried by Ekklesia about civilian casualties in Fallujah.

On Wednesday morning Ekklesia issued a press release containing reports from Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq that women and children had been killed in Fallujah by US forces.

In a statement from the Methodist church Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs said: ìThere are alarming reports concerning civilian casualties as a result of offensive military operations in Fallujah.

"According to some sources, half of the 600 people killed in Fallujah in the past two weeks were women and children.

He continued; "

"The coalition forces have stated that they will consider an assault on Najaf to capture Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. While recognising the extremely difficult task of facing the coalition forces in a hostile environment, we nevertheless call on the military only to undertake operations when it is feasible to discriminate between armed militias and civilian by-standers."

Anthea Cox, Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice also said;ìThe escalating violence in Iraq is giving many Methodists cause for concern. For those who campaigned against military action the current situation confirms their worst fears.

"Recent statements from the President of the United States continue to link the violence of a minority in Iraq with global terrorist threats. Many people remain to be convinced by this argument. Meanwhile there are real fears that recent offensive operations carried out by US forces are bolstering support for militant groups.

"The Methodist Church reiterates the importance of the crucial role of the United Nations in the handover of authority to Iraqi administration at the end of June.î

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