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Help Free Hostages
Please join us in taking action this weekend aimed at helping free former
CJP student Tom Fox and his colleagues from Christian Peacemaker Teams.
The abductors announced today that they will kill the hostages next
Thursday unless all Iraqi detainees are released.
Christian Peacemaker Teams asks people of faith to pray on Saturday and
Sunday for the hearts and the well-being of the men who are holding our
friends, to intensify prayers for the transformation of the hearts of
those who are holding our friends. "We ask that faith communities and
groups hold Tom Fox, Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember in the
light. Pray that they will remain strong and brave and that God will work
through them in miraculous ways to transform this current predicament. We
also ask that faith communities and groups pray for all people currently
missing in Iraq, for prisoners in Iraqi jails and for the prisoners'
Over the last few days, Jayne Docherty and I have been in email contact
with hostage negotiators from around the world in an effort to give
Christian Peacemaker Teams the best and most creative advice we can gather
about their communication and negotiation strategy. I have attached below
a press release that we wrote together with carefully crafted language.
To our friends around the world, particularly those of you who are Muslim,
we would be deeply grateful if you could translate this message, adapt it
as you see fit, and release it in your own country and if possible, also
to Al Jazeera.
We believe that the most help those outside Iraq can be to these prisoners
is to make clear to the world, and especially their captors, that they
were in Iraq NOT as spies, but as allies to the Iraqi people.
If you agree, here are the specific steps we advocate. Time is of the
1. Visit the website: http://www.freethecaptivesnow.org
There you can sign a special petition page,
aimed at the captors. You can also link there to Tom Fox's Iraq blog.
2. Hold a public vigil or prayer service focused on the call, expressed in
your own words, to release the captives, end the occupation and stop
torture. Join with like-minded groups, and invite the media to attend and
report on your action.
3. Write to newspapers, call in to radio shows, and tell them of the
innocence of these peaceworkers and your support for their immediate
release. Mention the website and your connection to Mennonites who
organized Christian Peacemaker Teams and, if you are, to Tom Fox.
4. Send emails to the feedback pages of media such as Al-Jazeera, Al
Arabiya and other major national and international media, especially in
the Gulf region (any other links??), repeating the call to free the
5. If you are part of a mosque or church with a peace and justice
emphasis, ask them to join this effort in whatever public way is
6. Let us know what you are doing at firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can pass this onto others.
7. VERY IMPORTANT - Pass this message on! Tell your friends about the
website, petition, and action suggestions.
With your email help, we can quickly reach supporters of peace and justice
throughout the world. Together our voices can make a powerful chorus for
freeing the captives and ending the war.
Thank you and Peace,
Suggested Press Release wording
We hereby argue clearly and strongly that the Christian Peacemaker Team
(CPT) workers in Iraq have committed no crimes and have done no wrong to
the people of Iraq. They are innocent of the charges against them. They
have worked without regard to their own safety to document the wrongs that
have been committed against Iraqi detainees and to stand in solidarity
The evidence is absolutely clear that CPT has been trying to stop Western
aggression in Iraq. These hostages are of no value to western governments.
The hostages are of great value to the people of Iraq and to their Muslim
As men who have sought the truth, Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney, and
Harmeet Singh Sooden are innocent of the charges of spying brought against
them. We call on their captors to honor their own highest principles by
releasing them with their dignity.
Christian Peacemaker Team members were working in solidarity with the
Iraqi people, so their status would be that of guests in Iraq. As guests,
they are due the protection of the Iraqi people and especially those who
are holding them. To harm the CPT members in any way, including
continuing to hold them, would violate this tenet. Such an injustice
would be viewed negatively and result in a significant setback for any
objectives or standing the group holding the CPT members are seeking.
If their captors demonstrate mercy and recognize the good work done by
CPT, this will help advance the common goal of bringing a just and
peaceful resolution for Iraq and its people. It will show a respect for
law and tradition that we wish to protect and preserve.
Please note that CPT never attempted to convert Muslims and its only goal
was to protect Iraqi lives and work for human rights.