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In 24 hours, 9,000 'Faithful Americans' urge
the release of captured Christian peacemakers

Washington, December 6, 2005 -- In less than 24 hours more than 9,000 persons added their names to a letter distributed by the National Council of Churches USA and FaithfulAmerica.org.  The letter, issued by U.S. religious leaders, calls for the release of the four Christian Peacemaker Team members abducted last week in Iraq. 

The signatories included significant Muslim leaders in the US, including Dr. Sayeed Sayyid, Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America; Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim; Abdul Malik Mujahid, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and Anwar N. Haddam, elected Member of Parliament of Algeria (Dec 1991), now living in Virginia.  

The call by U.S. Muslim leaders complements an statement released by several international Muslim leaders yesterday and published in the Muslim Association of Britain website 

On Monday (Dec.5) the National Council of Churches issued an alert through its interfaith advocacy ministry,  FaithfulAmerica.org., calling for the release of the four peace activists.  FaithfulAmerica.org plans to forward the letter with the signatures to Al Jazeera, the leading Arab News agency in hopes that its message will reach those holding the four men.  

The letter states, “Like us, they too (members of the CPT) opposed the US attack. They came to serve the Iraqi people. They came not only to urge peace but also to live peace.  We who have opposed the US invasion and occupation of Iraq call on all who live in Iraq to seek the release of these people into safety and freedom. And we call on all people of good will everywhere to join in this call.” 

Last year FaithfulAmerica.org produced a television spot that aired on Arab television in which religious leaders from the U.S. apologized for the prison abuse scandal. Christian Peacemaker Teams were among the first to unveil the Abu Ghraib scandal.  More recently the organization has urged Congressional support for an amendment by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) denouncing torture and calling for humane treatment of detainees held by U.S. forces. 

The letter further states, “Once again, we call for a swift end to the US occupation of Iraq and for peaceful action by the entire human community to assist Iraqis to achieve their own self-government. And we send our loving prayers to those who have become victims of their own loving commitment to peace, justice, and healing.” 

The letter can be viewed at www.faithfulamerica.org.

See a related story here.

Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, pjenks@ncccusa.org; or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350, ltune@ncccusa.org


 

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