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Concern grows on campus
By Erin Conway-Smith
Almost a week into the war on Afghanistan, several student groups at Western are concerned by US-led air strikes against terrorist targets and the possibility of retaliation.
"[The attacks on Afghanistan] are not accomplishing anything and maybe making us more prone to other attacks," said Khurram Khan, president of the Muslim Students' Association.
Khan said there are members of the MSA from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran some with family currently in areas being affected by the bombing campaign.
He said the United States is targeting an entire nation for a terrorist attack committed by a small group of people the identity of whom has yet to be completely confirmed.
"You can feel it on the Western campus people are not happy with what's going on," he said, noting some clubs at Western have been getting together to discuss their opposition to the bombing of Afghanistan.
Khan said he believes the bombing campaign will result in missed targets and civilian casualties. The food drops have been insufficient and millions of people have been displaced from their homes, he added.
"We as Muslims and as Canadians are now working to challenge this war the bombing of a country already in rubble from being [at] war for twenty years.
"I hope these indiscriminate killings are not making the American people feel a sense of contentment or satisfaction."
Jordan Cares, program director for the Jewish Students' Union, said the threat of terrorist attacks is nothing new for countries like Israel.
"Israel is far better prepared to deal with the threat of retaliation by [Osama] bin Laden because it is such a reality there."
Cares said most Jewish students at Western familiar with Israeli politics and lifestyle are used to carrying on with daily life despite the threat of terrorism.
"It is important to realize that terror is no longer a Middle Eastern phenomenon it reaches worldwide, into the lives of everyone on this planet.
"Europeans and North Americans have a lot to learn from the Israelis [in] dealing with terrorism."
Adham Benni, president of the Arab Students' Association, said he is concerned about the possibility of bin Laden attacking other countries.
"This war might spread all over and get ugly," he said.
He also expressed concerns about bin Laden trying to rally the Arab and Muslim masses and feared fundamentalists would make attempts to gain power.
"[Fundamentalists] are a minority, no one likes them," he added.
While he is against the bombing of Afghanistan and the killing of innocent civilians, Benni said the distribution of food rations at the same time as the bombing is a joke.
While he condemns the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Benni does not think the war on Afghanistan will resolve the situation.
"Killing innocent civilians is not solving problems."