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Groups calling for the release of kidnapped
Christian Peace Team Members in Iraq

Statements of Support

CPT has received many statements of support from organizations, groups and individuals.  

We share some of the highlights here.... 

CPT Colombia -- Barrancabermeja, Colombia December 5 2005

John 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.

         CPT has been in Iraq since October 2002 doing independent human rights reports and working for the rights of those detained by the United States and Iraqi forces. Also CPT has facilitated trainings in non violent intervention and documentation of human rights violations. CPT was the first group to denounce the torture of Iraqi prisoners held by USA forces and we hope to continue this work. CPT opposes the multinational forces occupation of Iraq as well as the foreign policies of the USA in Colombia and we call for an end of such interventions.
         CPT is an initiative and a program that looks to reduce violence. We are based in the teachings of the gospel of Jesus and have teams of volunteers working in highly conflictive areas in the world: Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, Canada and the United Sates. We look to express our solidarity with each one of the victims of violence and war, these being the strategies that governments use to worsen the well being of those WHO DO NOT WANT WAR.
         In Iraq not only lives Saddam Hussein and his armies but millions of Iraqis who are victims of the terror carried out by Hussein, Bush and Blair. The same in Colombia, not only paramilitaries, narcotrafickers, guerrilla fighters and the state, but also 44 million people who want to live in peace and tranquility and not be trapped by the democratic security policies of Uribe and Bush.
         We as CPT recognize before all Colombians the immense pain that family members and loved ones of all those who are disappeared, kidnapped, or unjustly imprisoned must feel. That is why today when we are living the same experience we see your constant struggle for those lives as a deep and courageous learning. As peacemakers we join ourselves to the numerous pleas that each one of you has made from the moment that you lost your loved ones.
         That is why we pray for those who have Tom, Norman, Jim, Harmeet and each one of the disappeared or kidnapped persons in Colombia may have mercy and free them soon without the use of violence or armed force. We all wish to see their faces in our homes. We want them to know how much we love them, how much we miss them and how anxious and worried about what has happened.  

The Congregation of St. Joseph Justice Committee, Cleveland, OH

The Justice Committee of the Congregation of St. Joseph (Catholic order of sisters) in Cleveland has been advocating an end to the occupation of Iraq since the current war began. Before the invasion of Iraq by US and "coalition forces" began, we were protesting strongly to convince our government to avoid going to war and against the sanctions during the 1990's which were causing so much suffering in Iraq.
         One of the most effective tools we have been able to use to try to change our government's policy of war against Iraq has been the first-hand stories from everyday citizens of Iraq, conveyed to us by members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad. The courage of the CPT members to live among and support the Iraqi people enables them to share with us in the United States many stories about the great courage of Iraqi men, women, and children as they face great suffering and hardship in the war and occupation conditions for the last three years. Because of the CPT, we know of Iraqi hospitality and friendship, as well. Because of CPT, we know more about the humanity and kindness of our Iraqi neighbors. Because of the CPT, we know that Muslims, both Shi'a and Sunni, desire peace and are willing to risk much to bring it about. We know from CPT reports that there are non-violent advocates in Iraq who have formed a Muslim Peacemaker Team to bring help to areas devastated by the war and occupation. Because of CPT, we gather a sense of hope, even in the midst of all the suffering and violence--and are therefore more determined than ever to change the war-making and
occupation policies of our government in the US.
         We therefore appeal with all of our hearts to those who may be holding the four Christian Peacemaker Team members: Please know that these persons are only in Iraq to help the Iraqi people. They have tirelessly helped Iraqi families locate and free their family members from detention when they have been unfairly arrested or mistreated. They seek to end the US occupation of Iraq. They serve a great purpose to help people of peace in the US to change our own government away from war and occupation.
         I believe we, who write this letter, and you, who may be holding the CPT members, desire the same end. We both want the withdrawal of American and other foreign military forces, so that Iraq might be in charge of its own destiny, and that Iraq might control its own resources for the good of its own people. We both desire a nation where families can take care of each other, educate their children, have decent health, food, and housing, and a society that values the human dignity of all. If you mistakenly believe that the four CPT members in your care have served the cause of the US government to occupy Iraq, please know that the truth is just the opposite.
         Please release these persons, that they might continue their efforts to bring justice and truth and compassion and peace to all they encounter.

Peter DeMott, Danny Burns, Clare Grady, and Teresa Grady

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, we send greetings of peace to our brothers and sisters in Iraq who are holding the Christian Peacemaker Team members, Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney, and Harmeet Singh Sooden. We write to you in a spirit of peace. We ask for your mercy on behalf of our friends as Allah bestows mercy.
         We, Peter DeMott, Danny Burns, Clare andTeresa Grady, are part of a peace group in New York. We are facing one and a half years in US prisons for a non-violent protest we did in opposition to the war in Iraq. We will be sentenced to prison in January of 2006.
         We know that you and your people have suffered since the Gulf war and the sanctions. We speak and act against torture of Iraqi people in American prisons. The only solution for peace in Iraq is for the US to leave Iraq immediately. Peter and Danny, traveled to Iraq in November, 2003 with the Christian Peacemaker Team, asking US soldiers to leave Iraq. Clare was with Voices in the Wilderness in 1999 bringing medicine for the Iraqi children.
         Christian Peacemaker Teams have been in Iraq and other areas of conflict in the world. They believe the solution for peace in this world begins with each of us taking personal responsibility for peace making. They condemn all torture and violence in all its forms. We know that this group does not proselytize their faith to anyone. That is not their purpose in Iraq. We know that the 4 CPT men have documented human rights abuses of Iraqis at the hands of the Americans. These men and the other Christian Peacemaker Team members went to Abu Graib and other US military prisons to demand the release of Iraqis who were imprisoned and possibly tortured. They are responsible for helping to get the story of the clandestine prisons and torture out to Americans and to the world. They understood the frustration and justified anger of the Iraqi people towards Americans and British people who are in Iraq now. They were willing to risk their own safety and lives to stand up to the American forces for the Iraqi people.
         Please release them safely so they can continue the work for justice for the Iraqis. The Christian Peacemaker Team is a very important group that has worked for justice in Iraq for many years. Please contact the Christian Peacemaker Team to negotiate their safe release. May the peace of Allah be with you always.

The Canadian Islamic Congress

The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) today expressed its sincere regret over the kidnapping of four Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) workers in Iraq this past week.
         As a faith-based organization, CPT has been respected and well known to Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians alike for its dedication to justice in occupied Palestine, often under very difficult and dangerous conditions.
         For years, CPT members have played a major role in protecting the property and lives of Palestinians, defending their homes and agricultural lands against destruction by the Israeli military, and protecting Palestinian children on their way to and from school against harassment and attacks by Jewish settlers.
         In Canada, CPT has worked proactively in politics and with the general public, campaigning tirelessly against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Its members have strongly defended the rights of Muslims and taken clear positions against the discriminatory singling out of Muslims within Canada. CPT has worked equally hard to accompany and support indigenous peoples
fighting for their land and treaty rights, such as native fishers in Burnt Church.
         While CPT is an openly faith-based group that operates according to Christian teachings and example, it is unlike most traditional missionizing and evangelistic organizations. CPT members do not proselytize or ever attempt to "convert" those for whom they offer support. Rather, they are
individually and collectively motivated by their faith to devote their lives to helping the oppressed, working for justice, and fighting against war by peacefully "getting in the way" of violence against the innocent.
         They have practiced and demonstrated a deep respect for Islam and for the right of Iraqis, and all Arab and Muslim peoples, to pursue just self-determination. They do not work under the auspices of any government, nor do they accept money from any government or governmental agency.
         All four CPT members being held captive in Iraq -- two Canadians, one Briton and one American -- have put their lives on the line to resist the darkness and misery of war and occupation. They took on their duties with one simple and courageous purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to
sincerely work alongside the people of Iraq for justice and peace.
         We appeal urgently for their quick release and sincerely hope that their commitment to justice and their role in standing beside and supporting all oppressed people -- especially Arab and Muslim peoples in Canada, Iraq, and Palestine -- will be appreciated and understood.  

Witness for Peace Statement of Support for the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)

Witness for Peace joins with millions around the world to pray and call for the quick return of Tom Fox, James Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden. For more than 20 years we have stood with CPT in support of peace and nonviolence and in opposition to unjust United States policies throughout the Americas. CPTers have dedicated their lives to opposing the oppressive policies of death and destruction that the U.S. government has pursued in Latin America, the Middle East and here at home. CPT has served as a prophetic voice for change so desperately needed in this country.

        We are grateful that CPT has stood in opposition to unjust U.S. policies and an unjust U.S. war in Iraq since 2002. We are grateful that Tom, James, Norman and Harmeet were willing to travel to Iraq and stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people. We know that they serve only the God of peace and justice, and we are eager for them to resume their work. We need their help to end the U.S. occupation and stop this war against the people of Iraq.
        We also pray for the safety and quick release of all Iraqis who have been detained and disappeared. We apologize for the harm that has been done by our government in our name. We pledge to continue our work for that day when our government sends forth more doctors than soldiers and builds more schools than military bases. We call for an end to the war in Iraq and an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

The Toronto Catholic Worker Community

My name is Rob Shearer, and I am a member of the Toronto Catholic Worker community. I live and work in Zacchaeus House, which is behind me here, where we live with folks in transition. James Loney co-founded this faith community with several others over 15 years ago and has been an active participant in its life every since.

         Every one of us in the Toronto Catholic worker community is distressed and saddened that the people who have taken our friend Jim as well as his companions Tom, Norman and Harmeet are bargaining with their lives. We feel that the people who are hosting the missing CPT four have made a mistake, as we know firsthand Jim’s commitment to peace, and to the people of Iraq and his opposition to the multinational presence there.

         There are many, many people in our Close Avenue community who have lived and worked closely with Jim. I believe that I speak for everyone around here when I say that we all miss his mischievous smile, his deep conversations always probing at getting to the heart of things, his honesty and integrity, his heart for peace and justice, his humour, and his special ability to turn many a crying child into a dancing, joyous, laughing one. With young and old, across cultures and creeds, we know Jim to be a peacemaker, with a real passion for those who are suffering.

        The Toronto Catholic Worker, which Jim co-founded, has consistently opposed this war, and the continuing presence of multinational forces in Iraq. Many of us have, with Jim, vigiled, prayed and acted against the aggression against the people of Iraq.

        The Catholic Worker Movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933, and is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person - be that an Iraqi Citizen, a soldier, a kidnapper, or a Christian peace activist. We pray for waves of love to flow over everyone involved at this time.

        Through this difficult time we will continue to live the works of mercy and run houses of hospitality like Zacchaeus House, the one that Jim founded. We ask you to join us in prayer for all of the missing peacemakers, as we continue to follow our call to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, and visit the sick. At the same time, we will, like Jim, oppose the works of war, which are to destroy homes, crops, and land, inflict wounds, separate families, contaminate water, level villages, kill the living and imprison dissenters.
        We ask that no violence be used in the release of the CPT Four. We are using all our resources to support all nonviolent means to have them released. We know that this would be Jim’s desire.

In the meantime, we will miss that smile, those conversations, those special moments. We know that holidays won’t be the same around here without those amazing pastries and sweets he makes. From our youngest here on the street, to the oldest, we are waiting with hope.

        We miss you Jim - we miss your presence here among us - and we pray that you and our peacemaking friends will come home soon. Jim, we hope to see you really soon.

Ikram al-Sabri, Head Mufti of Palestine

“There is a duty for all Palestinian people, institutions and factions to commit to sending a call to release these people who have been kidnapped. They are very important for us to help continue our struggle, whether here in Palestine or in Iraq, to gain our country's freedom. We repeat our call to release all the civilian people who have been kidnapped all over the world, not only these four.” 

Phil Jones, Director of the Brethren Witness Washington Office

We mourn today that members of CPT have been kidnapped and suffer at the hands of their captors....  As we pray for the safe release of these four Christian peace workers we also pray for the victims and families of the over 225 kidnapings and thousands of casualties of this war to date.   We pray for the immediate families of those affected by deep pain and grief of war.  We call upon the administration of this nation to consider its complicity and to refocus, redefine, and reshape its foreign policy.  We pray that a true advent of peace might be revealed.  

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows represents family members of those killed in the brutal attacks of 9/11. Our experience of loss has led us to call for an end to the cycle of violence and an end to the targeting and killing of civilians. We realized that the terrorism of September 11th would lead to the terrorism of war, and that these acts of violence would continue to grow until ordinary people from all nations, joining together in solidarity, recognized their common destiny and demanded an end to violent conflict. The members of the Christian Peacemaker Team are a part of this people's movement. We ask their captors to choose the moral path and break the cycle of violence. Your compassionate action will earn you the respect of the world, and will support the efforts of ordinary people everywhere to create a safer and more peaceful tomorrow for all. 

Yemen Statement by Al-Quds International Foundation, a gathering of Middle East religious leaders
We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of the four Western peace activists who were kidnapped in Iraq last week. We have been saddened by the kidnapping of these peace activists whose only mission in Iraq has been to express solidarity with the Iraqi people and see for themselves the devastating effects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They were intending to return home to inform the public opinion in their own countries about the destruction and havoc brought about by the invasion of Iraq by the United States of America and its allies.

We have come to learn that the Christian NGO to which these four activists belonged is a peace-loving organization that is well-known for its support for the just causes of oppressed nations around the world and particular for its sympathy with the Palestinian and Iraqi peoples and its support for their struggle for emancipation from the shackles of occupation.

Such peace activist should have been welcomed into Iraq and treated as honourable guests instead of being kidnapped and used as a bargaining chip. Neither the hostages nor the organization they represent possess the means of forcing the occupation authorities to free the Iraqis held in its detention centres across Iraq.

While fully supporting the right of the Iraqi people to resist occupation with all legitimate means, we denounce as illegitimate any act of aggression against innocent civilians irrespective of their religion or nationality. We therefore call for the immediate release of these four hostages and of all other Western civilians kidnapped in Iraq and urge whoever has the ability to play a role in the endeavour to secure their release and their safe return to their countries to spare no effort in this regard. All illegitimate acts of aggression against innocent civilians, including kidnappings, indiscriminate killing or other forms of harm inflicted upon non-combatants, only harm the just cause of the Iraqi people and their legitimate struggle for freedom and independence.

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Chairman of Al-Quds International Foundation
Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, Secretary General of the Islamic Group in Lebanon
Sheikh Harith Al-Dari, Head of Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq
Khalid Mishaal, Head of Hamas Political Bureau, Palestine
Musa Abu Marzuq, Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau, Palestine
Maan Bashur, Secretary General of the Arab Nationalist Congress
Hasan Hudruj, Hezbollah, Lebanon
Mahmud Al-Qumati, Hezbollah, Lebanon
Father Antwan Dhao, Lebanon
Sheikh Abdulhadi Awang, Islamic Party, Malaysia
Professor Aleef-ud-Din Turabi, Kashmir
Dr. Mohamed M. O. Jamjoom, Businessman, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Khalid Abdurrahman Al-Ajami, University Professor, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Muhsin Al-Awaji, Islamic writer and thinker, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Abd Al-Quddus Al-Midwahi, Yemen
Muhammad bin Ali Ijlan, Yemen
Dr. Abdullatif Al Mahmud, Islamic Society, Bahrain
Abdulmunem Jalal Al-Mir, Palestine Solidarity Association, Bahrain
Dr. Muhammad Al-Sheikh Mahmud Siyam, former Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestine
Khalid Mahmud Khan, Pakistan
Dr. Zafrul-Islam Khan, India
Dr. Azzam Tamimi, Muslim Association of Britain, UK
Haitham Yassin Abu Al-Raghib, Jordan
Saud Abu Mahfuz, Jordan
Engineer Boulafaat Abdulhamid, Algeria 

Woman's Willpower Committee

Woman's Willpower Committee

Member of the National Iraqi Constitutional Conference Women's Bureau 

            In the name of peace, freedom and justice:

           Woman's Willpower Committee calls on human conscience, which has striven for peace, for human beings, for putting an end to the ongoing bloodshed Iraq has been going through under the occupation. In the name of detainees, those who have gone missing, and victims, we call for the release of the four CPT workers, who were kidnapped on November 26, 2005. 

         Since the early days of the invasion of Iraq, the CPT have strenuously worked on helping the detainees and missing people. They have been looking all over Iraq for missing persons inside detention camps.

         Woman's Willpower Committee condemns the kidnapping for the four CPTers and calls on the human conscience of the captors to release them.

Saint Louis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Saint Louis, Missouri

"On November 26, 2005, Tom Fox, a US-born Quaker from Virginia, was taken captive in Iraq with his three colleagues from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Norman Kember of England and Canadians Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney. The four came to Iraq to document human rights abuses by both US and Iraqi forces, to provide training in nonviolent intervention, and to provide independent reports on the current situation in Iraq.
           To those unfamiliar with the history of Quaker witnesses for peace, our Friends' presence in Iraq might seem foolish, or even suspicious. But their presence in Iraq is part of a tradition of direct peacemaking that our Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers) has engaged in since our founding in the 17th century.

          We actively worked to avert the US invasion of Iraq, as we have always repudiated the use of war as a means of resolving disputes. We understand that this war has inflicted suffering on innocent victims, that it has devastated the infrastructure on which the civilian population depends, and that it has poisoned the environment, littering landmines, depleted uranium and other hazards which will remain long after US forces have left. We understand that no people can be free under a foreign occupation. Moreover, the war and occupation have left psychological scars, both on those who have experienced suffering and on those who have inflicted it. Our Friends saw it as their calling to try and heal those scars, to rebuild relationships, and to remind all whom they encountered in Iraq of our common humanity.

          To you who have taken our Friends captive, we say that you are not our enemies. We know that we must respond to your action by redoubling our efforts for finding peace, for ending torture and unjust imprisonment, and for taking responsibility for the destruction that this war and occupation have caused. We are confident that by now you have found that the only weapon these four carry with them is love. We ask you to take their weapon and employ it in your struggle. We ask you for their safety, and their release back to their homes and families.

        To those of you who, like us, are praying for the safe release of these four peacemakers, we say let us take their actions as a guide. In whatever ways we are able, let us risk ourselves for peace. Let us root out violence in every facet of our lives, in our family relationships, our communities’ response to crime, our stewardship of the earth, and our foreign policies. Let us eradicate prejudice and bigotry, economic inequality, resource domination and other injustices lest they plant the seeds for future conflicts. Let us, above all, answer to that of God in every person.

           And to Tom, Norman, Harmeet and James, we thank you for your courage and integrity. We are holding you in the Light."

Fariel Abu Haikel, Headmistress at Qurtuba Girls School, Hebron, Palestine

“We still remember the nice moments while we were under curfew with the CPT members who we have known since 1995. They came and gave food to people under curfew and showed their love and solidarity with our schools and our children. We will never forget these moments, because the CPT were the only people standing with us at that time. As a women who works with them, I send my call for the Iraqi resistance to release these people because CPT are very important people for us. To Bush I say that democracy is not imposed - democracy is given by people, not given by armies. We are sending our call for the faction that kidnapped these people in Iraq to release them immediately because we need them here.”
 


 

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