Iraqi-Americans Denounce Hussein
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Iraqi-American groups said they supported President Bush’s denunciation of Saddam Hussein’s regime in his speech to the United Nations, but many feared the ramifications of an invasion of their homeland.
Saddam ``is a criminal against his own people and his region, and he’s a threat to the world,″ said Ala Fa’ik, an Ann Arbor, Mich., resident and member of the Iraqi Forum for Democracy. ``To attack Iraq for me is not acceptable. Attacking Saddam is acceptable.″
In his speech, Bush demanded that world leaders force Saddam to destroy his weapons of mass destruction.
``The just demands of peace and security will be met _ or action will be unavoidable,″ Bush warned. ``If Iraq’s regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account.″
Many Iraqi-Americans fear an invasion could harm their country and loved ones and fuel anti-American sentiment. While Iraqi-Americans generally agree Saddam must be removed from power, some said they oppose U.S. occupation of Iraq.
``How do you stop this global threat? It’s by removing Saddam,″ said Muhannad Eshaiker, a founding member of the Iraqi Forum for Democracy in Anaheim, Calif.
Eshaiker said he would support limited military action only if its sole purpose was to remove Saddam’s government.
``If it’s for other purposes _ for destroying the infrastructure, for killing innocent people, for destroying factories, agriculture, no,″ he said.
``Why bomb Iraq when the enemy is Saddam Hussein?″ asked Nouri Sitto, a Troy, Mich., resident and coordinator of the Iraqi Democratic Union. ``That is not fair at all to the people of Iraq.″
The effort to remove Saddam from power and replace his regime with a democratic government should be led by Iraqis and aided by the United States, said Entifadh Qanbar, the Washington director of the Iraqi National Congress.
``I am for Iraqis to liberate their own country with their own hands,″ Qanbar said. The congress, which receives funding from the U.S. government, ``would support military help to use to liberate our country.″
But other groups oppose attacking Iraq, saying the United States should instead pursue diplomatic avenues.
Iraq’s potential use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons ``should be dealt with through the United Nations Security Council, not through unilateral action by the United States,″ the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement.
``Any American attack on Iraq would almost certainly lead to the death of many innocent civilians, further destabilize an already unstable region, harm the war on terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent for unilateral intervention in the affairs of other nations,″ the group said.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee also opposes military action, said spokesman Hussein Ibish.
``Any attack on Iraq is unjustified, unnecessary and is strongly dangerous,″ Ibish said. ``It is not going to achieve anything except playing into the hands of extremists like al-Qaida.″