9 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Arab European League (AEL), which has branches in Belgium and the Netherlands, has “saluted” the armed resistance to the US-led coalition being mounted by “the Iraqi population” in Falluja.
“In the last few days the American army of occupation has carried out an aggressive terrorist attack on the city of Falluja, whereby hundreds of innocent Iraqis, including many children, have been murdered,” the Dutch AEL secretary Naima Elmaslouhi said.
Her statement was posted on the organisation’s Dutch, Belgian and English-language websites.
She accused the US army of breaching all international laws and conventions by “isolating a civilian population of 500,000 people and cutting it off from medical and humanitarian supplies”.
While the legitimate resistance against the illegal US occupation of Iraq is taking an important turn, and is no longer limited to one segment of the population, the US occupation army is clearly losing its nerves and turning into a stampede of bloodthirsty killers, the statement said.
“This will only generate more resistance from our Arab people in Iraq and will eventually lead to the crushing of the occupation,” warned Elmaslouhi.
The US insists an unresentative minority is behind the violence and most Iraqis do not support the insurgents.
Outspoken Lebanese-born immigrant Dyab Abou Jahjah, 32, founded the AEL in 2001 in Antwerp, Belgium. The organisation claims to support integration, but not assimilation of Muslim and Arab immigrants into European society.
Abou Jahjah has campaigned against what he says is police harassment of Muslims and Arabs in Belgium and has spoken out against anti-immigrant bias from State organisations.
Early in its existence AEL members “shadowed” police patrols in Antwerp to monitor the harassment of immigrants. The organisation was also accused of provoking riots after a cross-racial murder in Antwerp.
When the foundation of the Dutch branch of the organisation was announced in 2003, several Dutch politicians from mainstream parties called for it to be outlawed. The Justice Ministry had to concede there were no grounds for doing so.
The Dutch branch of the AEL claimed to have about 300 members even prior to the official launch, which was attended by Abou Jahjah.
Apart from immigrant issues, the AEL has also outspoken views on the situation in the Middle East. In March 2003, the league issued a statement in which it condemned the killing by the “Zionist entity of Sheikh Ahmed Yassine, the leader and founder of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.
In its latest statement on the outbreak this week of fighting in Iraq, the AEL said it “salutes the brave fighters of the Iraqi resistance who are defending their homeland against foreign invasion”.
Warning that the US-led Coalition would not escape “the justice of the people”, the AEL called on “all freedom and justice loving people” to speak out in support of the resistance fighters.
Elmaslouhi called on European countries to distance themselves from the US-led occupation. She said the Netherlands, Italy and Poland should withdraw their troops from Iraq.
“If they fail to do so they should be condemned by the European Commission and (European) Parliament,” the AEL secretary said.
Belgium, she said, should immediately halt its logistical support to the occupation through weapons transportation via the port city of Antwerp.
“Supporting a criminal in committing his crime even indirectly means that you are responsible for its totality, this is common sense and this is the logic of the people,” she said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news, Belgian news, Iraq