Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives
Leading figures from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious traditions in the United States, many of them highly critical of their own government's policy in the region, have united to launch a petition for the freeing of abductees in Iraq.
The plea for the lives and wellbeing of the four Christian Peacemaker Team hostages has been signed, among others, by the secretary generals of the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of Churches USA and the Shalom Centre.
One of the other ëemergency founders' in the appeal is a former Algerian member of parliament. This is one of a number of online petitions, and can be found at the Faithful America site. All who share the concern are asked to sign.
Faithful America calls itself a 'responsive interfaith electronic advocacy community dedicated to providing a powerful collective voice to help advance the cause of compassion and justice in public policy.'
The network 'includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Baha'is, to name a few.'
The Sword of Truth group that captured the four Christian peace activists - Tom Fox, Harmeet Sooden, James Loney and Norman Kember - says that it will kill them on Thursday if all Iraqi detainees are not released.
CPT in Iraq has campaigned against abuse, occupation and invasion, as well as working with local human rights and civic groups to promote inter-community cooperation.
FULL TEXT OF THE PETITION
To those who are holding the Christian Peacemakers Team in Iraq, and to people everywhere of all Traditions of Faith and Peace:
We who write you affirm what all the traditions teach that trace their spiritual origin to Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all teach explicitly that to kill even one human being - even more strongly one who is doing no harm, most especially one who is seeking peace and nurturing human bodies and communities -- is to destroy a world. All other religious traditions agree about the holiness of human lives.
This teaching applies to all innocent Iraqis and foreigners who have been killed or taken away in Iraq out of anger against the US occupation - and it applies with special clarity and strength to the members of the Christian Peacemakers Team who are being held in Iraq. Like us, they too opposed the US attack. They came to serve the Iraqi people. They came not only to urge peace but also to live peace.
We who have opposed the US invasion and occupation of Iraq call on all who live in Iraq to seek the release of these people into safety and freedom. And we call on all people of good will everywhere to join in this call.
No doubt, those who planned and executed the US invasion and occupation of Iraq will cite this action as evidence for the rightness of their action. We utterly reject this logic, and affirm that the war undertaken by the US has multiplied the violence it pretended to oppose.
We hold morally responsible for the lives of these Christian Peacemakers both those in Iraq who have taken them, and those who have brought about the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and Americans by pursuing this war.
Once again, we call for a swift end to the US occupation of Iraq and for peaceful action by the entire human community to assist Iraqis to achieve their own self-government. And we send our loving prayers to those who have become victims of their own loving commitment to peace, justice, and healing.
(Signed by the initial emergency list of signatories below)
Dr Sayeed Sayyid, Secretary General, Islamic Society of North America;
Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim;
Abdul Malik Mujahid, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago; that Council as a body;
Anwar N. Haddam, elected Member of Parliament of Algeria (Dec 1991), chairman, board of trustees, Education for Life, Northern Virginia, and member, executive committee, Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations of Greater Washington Area (CCMO);
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad of Bethesda, MD; Muhammad Ali-Salaam of Boston; Abdul Cader Asmal, MD, PhD;
Rev Dr Robert Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches;
Rev Osagefyo Sekou, Director of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq;
Rev Peter Laarman of Progressive Christians Uniting in California;
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbinic Director of The Shalom Center.