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Fwd: Bishops demand apology to the Muslims for Iraq war

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    http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=9767 *Bishops demand apology to the Muslims for Iraq war* 9/19/2005 8:00:00
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 23, 2005
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      Bishops demand apology to the Muslims for Iraq war

      9/19/2005 8:00:00 AM GMT

      The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries

      Church of England bishops said that Christian leaders should apologize to Muslim leaders for the Iraq war, BBC reported.

      A report from a group of senior bishops states that the war was one of a "long litany of errors" relating to Iraq.

      As the Government was unlikely to offer an apology, a "truth and reconciliation commission" involving religious leaders would provide a "public act of institutional repentance," the report said.

      However, the bishops said that arranging such a meeting could be difficult.

      The report, entitled Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post 9/11, was prepared by a working group of the Church of England's House of Bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, according to BBC.

      It suggests the meeting would be a chance to apologize for the way the West has contributed to the situation in Iraq, including the war.

      *       "Gravely mistaken"

      The Church of England has criticized the invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn't a "just war".

      But the bishops now say that withdrawing from Iraq without a stable democracy in place would be irresponsible as it would double the misery of the Iraqi people, but to stay suggests collusion with a "gravely mistaken" war.

      But if such collusion is necessary evil, the report says, there needs to be a degree of public recognition of the West's responsibility for the current situation.

      "It might be possible for there to be a public gathering...at which Christian leaders meet with religious leaders of other, mainly Muslim, traditions, on the basis of truth and reconciliation, at which there would be a public recognition of at least some of the factors mentioned [in the report]."

      *       American national interests

      The report said mistakes in the West's handling of Iraq war included backing the ousted leader Saddam Hussein over many years as a strategic ally against Iran, a willingness to sell him weapons and the suffering caused to the Iraqi people by sanctions.

      It adds that the invasion appears to be "as mush for reasons of American national interest as it was for the well-being of the Iraqi people".

      The bishops also said that religious institutions had apologized for past injustices, including the Vatican's remorse over Christians' responsibility for the persecution of Jews.

      "These indicate that it is possible for institutions to take responsibility for their corporate action in the past, not in order to make individual Christians today feel guilty, but as a mature, public act of institutional repentance," the report says.

      *       More British forces "ready for Iraq"

       The United Kingdom is ready to increase the number of forces in Iraq, if they are needed, British Defense Secretary John Reid said, according to Reuters.

      Britain, the U.S.'s main ally in Iraq, has about 9,000 soldiers in Iraq and has frequently said its forces would remain in the country until the Iraqi government ask them to leave.

      "Our troops will be there until such times as the conditions are met - those conditions being the Iraqis themselves having such democratic control and such security forces that they can take the lead," Defense Minister John Reid told Jonathan Dimbleby's show on ITV.

      "We don't need them (more troops) at the moment, if that's necessary, of course we would do that…. There's no quitting and running, we're there until the job is done," he added.

      Mr Reid's comments followed a report in the Sunday Telegraph that escalating violence in Iraq forced the British government to scrap plans to reduce its troop numbers in Iraq next year.

      *   Lib Dem calls for ending Iraq "occu pation"

      Liberal Democrat foreign spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell will call for an end to the U.S.'s and the UK's "occupation" of Iraq, BBC reported.

      In his speech to the Liberal Democrat annual conference, Sir Menzies will say that Iraq war was illegal and launched on a "false prospectus".

      "The threat was manufactured not in the sands of Iraq, but in the corridors of Whitehall," Sir Menzies will tell delegates.

      He will also slam the "inexcusable failure" to plan for post-war Iraq, which is illustrated by a "terrible daily carnage" in the war-torn country. "Two and a half years on, we must begin to bring this occupation to an end," Sir Menzies will say.

      Sir Menzies will also say that Britain needs an ethical foreign policy, stressing human rights and multilateralism.

      *       Support for Iraq war at all-time low – Poll

      American's support for the Iraq war has fallen to an all-time low, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News survey. Only 44 percent now say the U.S. made the right decision to invade Iraq, the lowest percentage since the 2003 invasion.

      The poll also found that eight in ten Americans are concerned that the money spent each month on the Iraq war should be used inside the United States, especially in the wake of destruction brought by Hurricane Katrina.

      Moreover, 52 percent of those interviewed supported an immediate withdrawal.  39 percent said the war had a negative impact in their communities, while 45 percent said there have been more U.S. casualties in Iraq than they had expected.

      The survey also showed that almost 60 percent now disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq. And nearly half of those interviewed said they are not proud of what the U.S. is doing in the country.

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