Toronto – The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) today welcomed Canada’s refusal to join the US-led invasion of Iraq and praised the overwhelming rejection of war by members of the House of Parliament. “This is a day to be exceptionally proud of this country and how it has chosen to put its values ahead of its bilateral interests with the US,” said National President Raja G. Khouri. “It takes courage to say no to such a powerful ally and the Prime Minister has done the right thing. We commend him on that.”
CAF has consistently rejected the pretexts for war on Iraq given by the US and has urged the Canadian government to oppose the war. In a position statement published on January 27, 2003, (http://www.caf.ca/) CAF warned war could bring a “humanitarian disaster on the Iraqi people” and expressed “deep concern about the effects of such a war on the Arab and Muslim communities in Canada and on the relationship between Canada and countries of the region.”
“This is an illegal war, according to international law,” said Khouri. “There has been no evidence of imminent threat established and the United Nations inspectors have been making considerable progress in disarming the Iraqi regime. Most of the world sees this as a needless war, with regional and global risks that far outweigh any perceived threat.”
CAF also urged the Canadian government to withdraw the 31 Canadian soldiers who are part of an exchange with the British and American military. “We are concerned they may inadvertently be involved in the killing of Iraqi civilians and their involvement in an illegal war may one day subject them to prosecution by the new International war crimes court,” said Khouri. CAF also believes that Canada should take a clear and public stand in opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq.
While applauding the NDP and Bloc Quebecois for taking a tough stand against the war Khouri regretted the Canadian Alliance’s support for a Canadian role in the invasion. “It is painful to see there are Canadians who are willing to break international law to appease the American government,” Khouri said. “Happily, they are in the minority.”
Raja Khouri, National President
Audrey Jamal, Executive Director