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Continued Prayer for Kidnapping Victims in Iraq Urged


December 16, 2005 | bpfna

BPFNA urges continued prayer for the safety of the four Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation members kidnapped in Iraq in late November. Their captors, who had threatened to kill them on December 8 unless all prisoners in Iraqi detention centers were released, extended that deadline to December 10. There has been no word on their fate since that time. Anas Altikriti, of the Muslim Association of Britain, has been quoted by the BBC as saying the silence could be a good sign.

Meanwhile, Muslim clerics have called for the release of the four. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has issued statements asserting that the group are indeed peacemakers.

Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney, Tom Fox and BPFNA member Norman Kember were kidnapped in Baghdad on November 26. They travelled to Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Details of the current situation can be read in this news article from the BBC. Earlier in the week, Kember's family released a new statement appealing for his release. Read the Kember family statement in this news article from the BBC.

Scroll down this page to read statements from Sojourners and the Muslim Peace Fellowship.

For Immediate Release 
Friday, December 02, 2005


Sojourners Calls for Immediate Release of Christian Peacemaker Teams Members

Washington, D.C. -- Friday, December 2, 2005

Sojourners is alarmed and saddened by the kidnapping of four Christian Peacemaker Teams members - Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney, Norman Kember, and Tom Fox  - in Baghdad on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005. We are afraid for their lives and pray for their speedy release.

Christian Peacemaker Teams began work in Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the U.S. invasion and to offer support to the Iraqi people. They have consistently and courageously promoted peace with justice through solidarity with the people of Iraq, and opposition to the occupation. They are not spies for any government, nor do they work for any government. They have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are religious people who have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination.

Sojourners has collaborated with Christian Peacemaker Teams around the world and reported on their work in Sojourners magazine. We know them to be a legitimate witness for peace, completely committed to faith-based nonviolence. Staff members of Sojourners have participated in Christian Peacemaker Teams delegations in high conflict areas. We know from personal experience that they do not support any armed group. Sojourners staff members know some of the men who have been kidnapped and we can vouch for their good character and commitment to peace.

We have deep respect for the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams in the United States and around the world to shine light on abuse and intimidation of civilians, and promote peace for all people. We join with people of good will around the world in praying for their immediate release so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers.


Jim Wallis, Executive Director, and staff
Sojourners, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian peace and justice organization 

 from Rabia Harris and the Muslim Peace Fellowship, with whom BPFNA collaborated to produce "Peace Primer":


In the Name of Allah, All-Compassionate, Most Merciful

The Muslim Peace Fellowship / Ansar as-Salam are greatly distressed by the misunderstanding that has led members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams working in Iraq to be wrongly identified as agents of any government. While there are indeed some Christian groups who, sadly, have supported the current occupation, as the Noble Qur’an tells us of the People of the Book, “they are not all the same.” And the Christian Peacemaker Teams, like the Christians of the most ancient times, have proved themselves to be independent of any government and opposed to tyranny and empire in any form. We have tested them in this and found their claim to be true.

When we have visited with Christian Peacemaker Teams efforts in al-Khalil, we have found their workers humble, courageous, and devoted to service. They were not interested in converting others to Christianity, but in living in accordance with what Prophet Jesus taught (peace be upon him), insofar as they understood it.  They were warmly received by their neighbors and a thorn in the side of the Israeli occupation government. We have found their behavior to be consistent in many other encounters in other places. As Muslims committed to the work of justice we would extend our protection over them without hesitation.

We pray that Allah, exalted and glorious, will lead those who are currently holding four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams to the same conclusion—for it is the true conclusion.

May Allah All-Compassionate, Most Merciful, guide us all in the straight path of truth.

Muslim Peace Fellowship/Ansar as-Salam





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