The Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue focussed on Iraq in his Easter message which follows below. One year ago I, together with millions round the world, including Pope John Paul, pleaded with the British and United States Governments not to invade Iraq. If Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were the issue, then the United Nations, present in Iraq (UNSCOM) at that time, should have been given time to disarm Iraq. But against the wishes of the International Community, the United Nations and the Security Council, and in violation of International Law, the United States and Britain launched an attack. We were told that the Iraqi people would welcome Britain and United States as liberators. This has not happened. We were told that WMD would be found. This has not happened. We were then told that the capture of Saddam Hussein would bring normalcy to the country. This has no happened. Today I read with sadness and dismay that the occupation forces have made further attacks across the country in an attempt to crush the uprising by Shia and Sunni Muslims. We do not know how many innocent people will lose their lives during this time. It is quite possible that the whole region might be engulfed. This week's attack on a mosque is a further sign of escalation. It is time to re-assess the whole situation. I say this because there has been no slackening of worldwide opposition to the occupation and subjugation of the people of Iraq. It is time for Britain and the United States to disengage from the occupation of that country and attacks on its people. It is time for the United Nations to be effectively involved in providing security and developing an accountable and representative government as soon as possible. Easter is a time of hope, with New Life offered to all through peace and justice. Let us avail ourselves of these gifts and pray, too, that the Iraqi people will enjoy a new beginning. Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Source: Diocese of Lancaster
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