Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life
Pat Kember, the wife of British peace worker Dr Norman Kember, who has been kidnapped in Iraq, has made a televised appeal on Arab TV to seek his release.
Speaking in a 30-second film broadcast across the Muslim world by al-Jazeera,
she described her 74-year-old husband as a very caring man who believed in peace and had come to Iraq to help its people.
Dr Kember and his Canadian and American friends were allies of Iraq, she declared, adding: 'Throughout his life he bravely fought against all kinds of injustice."
She went on: 'He went to Iraq to help the Iraqi people to stop the spread of abuse and to understand the situation in order to make Iraq a safer place. Please release Norman and his colleagues so that they can continue their work for the sake of peace in Iraq. They Ö want to help you to overcome evil by engaging in a humanitarian action."
Al-Jazeera has also carried video messages from Sword of Truth, a previously unknown militant group, as well as a plea on his behalf by Palestinian leaders.
In the latest film, shown on Friday, the captors said they would kill their hostages unless all US and UK prisoners were released by Thursday.
The four men, including Dr Kember, are associates of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an international NGO which promotes conflict reduction programmes in Iraq, occupied Palestine and several other places.
CPT revealed prisoner abuse in Iraq well before the Abu Ghraib story became public, and its work has been widely praised by Muslims, including some leading Sunni leaders.
Envoy Anas Altikriti, from the Muslim Association of Britain and the anti-war movement has come to seek Norman Kember's release.
He has already spoken to al-Jazeera, to Sunni leaders and to leading Muslim scholars. They area asking the Islamic kidnappers to release to CPT men.
A Christian Peacemaker Teams spokesperson said: 'We are distressed that those who have taken our friends, Harmeet, Tom, Norman and Jim, could try and bargain with their lives and we want to understand why they would do such a thing. The taking of lives in any circumstance is against every thing we stand for.'
He continued: 'Please, whoever is holding them, release them all unharmed. Their families are very worried about them and we want their safe return home. We fear that whoever is holding them has made a mistake. These four men are peacemakers, not spies. CPT has consistently opposed the war and the continuing presence of multinational forces in Iraq.'
Faith groups and peace and human rights organisations across the world have been organising vigils for the captives today, and will continue to do so next week.
Mr Kember's friend Bruce Kent, a vice-president of both Pax Christi UK and the Campaign for Nuclear disarmament, said: 'He's a small man of 5ft 6ins with a twinkle in his eye. He was a medical professor and has a completely indomitable holy justice against the Iraq war. He's always been a Baptist but his interests are non-sectarian.'
He added: '[Dr Kember] was committed to peace: he wasn't wealthy and he wasn't influential with the Government. They've got the wrong person and should release him in the interests of peace.'
[Also on Ekklesia: Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Christian peacemakers say coalition force causes Iraqi violence; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq; Christian peace activists launch in the UK; Christian peacemakers advised to leave Iraq; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers]