Tom Fox's death in Iraq
invokes grief, forgiveness and pleas
York, March 10, 2006 --The co-directors of Christian Peacemakers Teams
today issued the following statement:
In grief we tremble before God who
wraps us with compassion. The death of our beloved colleague and friend
pierces us with pain. Tom Fox's body was found in Baghdad yesterday.
Christian Peacemaker Teams extends our deep and heartfelt condolences to
the family and community of Tom Fox, with whom we have traveled so
closely in these days of crisis.
We mourn the loss of Tom Fox who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm
opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.
We renew our plea for the safe release of Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and
Norman Kember. Each of our teammates has responded to Jesus' prophetic
call to live out a nonviolent alternative to the cycle of violence and
In response to Tom's passing, we ask that everyone set aside
inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have
done. In Tom's own words: "We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask
that there be no retaliation on relatives or property. We forgive those
who consider us their enemies. We hope that in loving both friends and
enemies and by intervening nonviolently to aid those who are
systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to
transforming this volatile situation."
Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the
light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of
nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.
Through these days of crisis, Christian Peacemaker Teams has been
surrounded and upheld by a great outpouring of compassion: messages of
support, acts of mercy, prayers, and public actions offered by the most
senior religious councils and by school children, by political leaders
and by those organizing for justice and human rights, by friends in
distant nations and by strangers near at hand. These words and actions
sustain us. While one of our teammates is lost to us, the strength of
this outpouring is not lost to God's movement for just peace among all
At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from
Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are
profoundly grateful. Their graciousness inspires us to continue working
for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of
thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and
Such an outpouring of action for justice and peace would be a fitting
memorial for Tom. Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who
continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed
or are missing, and in so doing may we hasten the day when both those
who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to
their homes. In such a peace we will find solace for our grief.
Despite the tragedy of this day, we remain committed to put into
practice these words of Jim Loney: "With the waging of war, we will not
comply. With the help of God's grace, we will struggle for justice.
With God's abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies." We
continue in hope for Jim, Harmeet and Norman's safe return home.
DR. DOUG PRITCHARD, CPT CO-DIRECTOR
and REV. CAROL ROSE, CPT CO-DIRECTOR
Tom Fox's blog is
Contact NCC News:
Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252;
or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350