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Local Muslim Leaders Express Concern Over Election Results

June 01, 1996|LARRY B. STAMMER

Locally, some Muslim leaders expressed surprise and concern this week over the apparent election of Israeli hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu as that country's prime minister.

"I think it will change tactics in terms of the peace process," said Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a nationwide group based in Los Angeles.

"I'm surprised. . . . Unfortunately, the reality of this shift to the right is that we will expect some more difficult times."

Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, suggested that the election may not affect the peace process as much as it affects the perception of the process.

"To some extent, Labor and Likud are not very different in the way they handle problems of peace," Hathout said.

"But [the election is] an ominous indication that those who oppose peace and a Palestinian state are not a small fraction. They are a sizable portion of society," he said.

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