Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist
Vigils are to take place this weekend around the country for Norman Kember, the British peace activist abducted in Iraq, as messages of support come flooding in from around the world.
Christians and Muslims, peace organisations, friends and supporters of Norman Kember, are to hold a silent, candle-lit prayer vigil this evening (Friday) on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, central London.
Other public vigils will also be taking place around the country over the coming weekend, including ones in Derby, Bradford and Evesham this evening and one in Oxford on Sunday.
Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney were in Baghdad as part of a Christian Peacemakers Team delegation to meet with those who are suffering under the terrible conditions that currently exist there, when they were abducted on Saturday 26th November.
The vigils come as message of support, emphasising the peaceful work of the activists, are arriving from around the world.
TEAR Fund New Zealand Executive Director is amongst those expressing deep concern about the kidnapping of volunteers from the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Iraq.
Mr Tollestrup, who visited with CPT leadership in Canada for informal discussions, affirms the unequivocal commitment to peace the group stands for. "In a world where violence is considered a legitimate option, Christian Peacemaker Teams have stood for nonviolence as means to bring justice. CPT has sought to reduce violence and advocate on behalf of the human rights of all Iraqis, and for an end to the occupation of Iraq."
Like many others, TEAR Fund New Zealand believes that their capture was a mistake and prays they will be released unharmed soon.
"We want their safe return home. Naturally their families are extremely worried about them. We do not know with whom they are, but there appears to have been a misunderstanding. They are peacemakers, not spies. CPT has consistently opposed the war and the continuing presence of multinational forces in Iraq."
Christian Peacemaker Teams work throughout the world, wherever violence and injustice is present, as advocates for justice through nonviolent action. They have been particularly active in supporting the civil rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
[Also on Ekklesia: A detailed briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Anti-war campaigner flies to Iraq to plead for Christian peacemakers 01/12/05; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq 01/12/05]