Islamists call for GCC countries' reform

Islamic groups have urged Gulf Arab leaders meeting in Kuwait to introduce drastic political reforms and oppose the presence of US military bases in the region.

    Islamic groups warn of a return of colonialism to the Gulf

    Amid tight security, leaders of the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council opened their annual summit in Kuwait on Sunday for two days of talks.  

    "Our view on reforms calls for upgrading the pace of popular participation in the government and resources without delay to achieve a real Shura (consultation) system that guarantees peaceful rotation of power," the Kuwaiti-based Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) said.

    "Serious reform can be achieved... by combating political, moral and financial corruption in government agencies and society without discrimination," the ICM said in a statement.

    The Salaf Movement, another Islamic group, warned the leaders of the six-nation GCC of the return of colonialism to the region, in reference to the presence of US troops in Iraq.

    "The worst matter faced by states and people of the region is the return of colonialism, and losing their independence and sovereignty under the pretext of providing protection," the movement's secretary general Hakim al-Mutairi said.
     
    "The most serious aspect of this colonialism is the presence of permanent foreign military bases which now encircle the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf from all sides," al-Mutairi added in a statement.
     

    Peaceful political reforms

    He urged the oil-rich states to strengthen their military capabilities to be able to protect their nations to rid the region of the foreign military presence.

    "The most serious aspect of this colonialism is the presence of permanent foreign military bases which now encircle the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf from all sides"

    Hakim al-Mutairi
    Secretary-General
    Islamic Constitutional Movement

    The GCC groups the gas- and oil-rich states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    The ICM also called on GCC leaders to help Iraq become a factor for stability and progress in the Gulf region, and to help speed up the creation of an Iraqi government to ensure a swift withdrawal of foreign troops.

    In addition, al-Mutairi called for "peaceful political reforms" to allow the Gulf people to govern themselves and elect their representatives freely under constitutional states.

    Kuwaiti Islamic MP Walid al-Tabtabaei warned Gulf leaders against bowing to Western pressure to change school textbooks and enforce Western concepts of fighting terrorism.

    "We hope their fight against terror will be based on a correct and objective understanding of terrorism... and not on the basis of Western understanding which considers religious practices a form of extremism," Tabtabaei said.
     
    Fighting terror will top the summit's agenda and leaders are expected to approve a joint pact for combating terrorism.

    SOURCE: AFP


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