COMMUNITY leaders in Blackburn have spoken out after MP Jack Straw said it would be right for Britain to join the US air strikes against terrorist group Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq.

Local councillors said they respected the former Foreign Secretary’s opinion, but feared air strikes may lead to civillian casualties.


Mr Straw made the comments after the release of a video apparently showing the killing of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

The terrorist group also issued a warning saying that a British hostage would be the next to die.

But Queen’s Park councillor and former mayor Salim Mulla said that he would prefer to send troops into Iraq than to join the US air strikes.

He said: “I don’t really agree with Jack for one reason, because I don’t like civillians being killed.

“I’m sure there are other ways of dealing with it, and if we are able to strike directly without killing innocent people I would support that. Isis is a terrorist organisation, and they should be dealt with, they are using the name of Islam, but they are not Islamic because they are murdering innocent people.

“But an air strike will kill innocent people, so I have some concerns about that, over loss of civilian life.

“I think we need to be very careful, and what would be better is if we could identify targets or send in troops to deal with Isis, because troops won’t kill civillians.”

Shear Brow councillor Hussain Akhtar added: “Jack has his own opinion, and I have my own opinion, but the Muslim world does not agree with air strikes.”

But Mr Straw defended his comments, saying air strikes could prevent future casualties.

He said: “The air strikes would be against these barbaric fighters, to stop them murdering thousands of innocent people.

“They had control of the Mosul Dam, which provides water and electricity for thousands of people in Northern Iraq.

“Without the Mosul Dam there would have been a complete disaster in that area.

“I accept the concerns of my colleagues, and no-one wants casualties, but this is a way that more casualties could be prevented.”