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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Countrywide protests against US occupation of Iraq

New Delhi: Muslim leaders and intellectuals from various organisations took part in a protest demonstration on 31 May at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against the brutal American occupation of Iraq, oppression of Iraqi people and destruction and sacrilege of holy places lin Najaf and Karbala. Called by Safinatul Hidaya Trust, Muslim Political Forum, Shia Political Front and Samaj Parivartan Manch, the protesters resolved to continue the protest and agitation for as long as American occupation is not vacated.

Speakers included Syed Shahabuddin, president of Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Maulana Shafi Moonis, vice president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi, president of All India Talimi & Milli Foundation, Dr Tasleem Ahmad Rahmani of Muslim Political Conference, representative of Shia Political Front among others also appealed to justice-loving countries, people and leaders of the world to raise their strong voice against American occupation of Iraq and oppression of its people. Maulana Zeeshan Hidayati, Maulana Aqeel Al-Gharwi, Maulana Jalaluddin Ansar Umari, Professor Akhtarul Wasey and MG editor Dr Zafarul Islam Khan also participated in the demonstration.

Protesters released a memorandum demanding the US occupier to immediately withdraw its forces form Iraq and hand over the country and its sovereignty to the people of Iraq.

In Lucknow, in addition to the grand demonstration on 30 May (see page 1), a number of demos and sit-ins were organised including one on 6 June in front of the Legislative Council building. In a statement issued by a number of leading Ulama, including Maulana Kalb-e Jawwad, in Lucknow on 1 June said that “Lucknow has not seen in its history such an spectacle when tens of thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims and Hindus demonstrating together against the American injustice against humanity”. 

Entry of American, British and Israeli tourists into historic Muslim monuments in Lucknow, like Asafi Imambara, Chota Imambara and Shahnajaf, has been banned by the Ulama. Posters saying “Americans, British and Israelis not allowed” have been displayed outside these monuments. 

Delhi branch of CPI held a demo at Jama Masjid Chowk on 4 June against American occupation of Iraq, desecration of religious places and serious human rights violations like the inhuman torture in Abughraib prison.

On 28 May Muslim protesters came out on streets all over the country after Juma prayers condemning American occupation of Iraq and desecration of holy places there.

Led by Ulama, Muslims in Srinagar shouted anti-US slogans and burnt American flags. Agha Syed Hassan, a Shia leader, said that the protests would continue till the Americans left Iraq. 

"The whole of Kashmir is expressing their condemnation of the U.S domination of Iraq. This agitation will continue as long as the hegemonistic forces do not get out of Iraq and leave the nation alone," he said. 

Similar protests were held in Varanasi where Muslims took to the streets with anti-U.S. banners. 

M. Farooqi, president of Arabic-Islam organisation, said that American soldiers should stop abuse of Iraqi prisoners and leave the country. "We want that America should stop inflicting more torture on the Iraqis. It should give up its claim over the nation, leave it alone. Power should be given back to the Iraqi people. It should let them live in peace," he said. 

Muslims here have been quite consistently voicing their concern on the U.S.-led war last year to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and say the prisoner abuse was only a small example of what they termed as America's hegemony. 
A bigger protest demonstration is planned in Delhi’s Ramlila grounds on 20 June. Maulana Kalbe Jawwad is touring many places in north India to mobilise people for this demonstration. «

Lucknow, 5 June

Lucknow, 5 June

Delhi, 25 May

Delhi, 31 May

Lucknow, 30 May:Hindu holymen take part in the protests

Bangalore, 4 June

Delhi, 25 May

Lucknow, 30 May

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