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Muslim groups slate Libya strikes

Peace groups join Islamic protesters to decry 'double standards'

Muslim groups on Monday call for a stop to air strikes in Libya Muslim groups on Monday call for a stop to air strikes in Libya
  • Joe Torres, D'Jay Lazaro and Julian Labores, Manila
  • Philippines
  • March 21, 2011
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Filipino Muslim and peace groups today condemned the United Nations-sanctioned air strikes launched against Libya over the weekend.

"This brazen military aggression betrays the double standard by which the United Nations uses," said Jolly Lais, spokesperson of the Muslim group Bangsamoro National Solidarity Movement.

Lais said while the UN "claims to be concerned about the loss of life in Libya, (it) just looked the other way while protesters were being slaughtered in Bahrain."

The leftist group Bayan Muna dubbed the airstrikes "a brutal act of armed intervention against a sovereign nation.”

The group also condemned the UN Security Council resolution to enforce a "no-fly zone" over Libyan airspace.

"The allied forces are arrogantly imposing their will against a government that has stood for their people's right to self-determination," said Satur Ocampo, president of Bayan Muna.

Allied forces led by Britain, France and the United States have attacked targets within Libya for two nights.

A Filipino Catholic priest in Tripoli, meanwhile, said Filipinos in Libya have no other option but to leave by land.

"We have no more access to air transportation. It is dangerous to leave by sea because it has also become a battleground," said Father Allan Arcebuche, assistant parish priest of San Francesco Catholic Church in Tripoli.

The priest reported hearing "loud explosions" and anti-aircraft fire on Sunday.

He said even those planning to leave Libya by land will be in danger because as many as 25 checkpoints have been set up along the highway by government and rebel forces.

Father Arcebuche said he will stay in Tripoli because his parish serves migrant workers there.

Sonny Melencio, president of Strength of the Masses Party, "deplored" the Philippine government's silence over the attack, saying the position is "cowardly."

The Philippine government on Monday reiterated its call to Filipinos in Libya to evacuate.

Abigail Valte, spokesperson of President Benigno Aquino III, said Philippine officials still in Libya will assist those who want to leave.

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