In response to multiple attacks on foreigners, the UN, the Red Cross, Oxfam, and Care International have pulled their staffs out of Iraq. Yet other humanitarian aid workers remain, risking their lives to help the needy. Their work is difficult, not only because of the violence, but because many Iraqis are suspicious of them, wondering whether aid workers are really occupiers.
Carol Zaleski is a professor of religion at Smith College and her husband, Philip Zaleski, is a religion writer and editor. Together they are writing a book about prayer in all cultures, and both have much to say on the role of prayer during wartime.
A WASHINGTON POST-ABC NEWS poll asked American whites and blacks whether they support or oppose the U.S. having gone to war in Iraq. Among whites, 78 percent said they support the war. But among African-Americans, just 35 percent supported. Of all African-Americans, the most conflicted may be African-American Muslims, who make up about a third of all Muslims in the U.S. More
In Jordan, next door to Iraq, humanitarian aid workers have relief supplies but only limited access to Iraq. There are daily demonstrations in Amman against the war in Iraq and the American government. Opposition to the war is overwhelming among both Muslims and Christians.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the U.S. and its allies not to forsake humanitarian issues while waging the war in Iraq. For months, nongovernmental relief agencies have been trying to get ready for a potential humanitarian crisis. Among the active groups are many faith-based organizations that have a long history of providing aid to the region.