Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers
Last minute appeals are being made to the captors of four Christian peacemakers in Iraq, as the deadline set by their captors approaches.
The four have been accused by their kidnappers of spying for foreign forces occupying Iraq, despite the fact that they have consistently opposed the occupation and invasion of Iraq.
The men's captors ó called Swords of the Righteous Brigade ó have threatened to kill the four tomorrow, unless Iraqi detainees have by then been freed from prisons administered by Iraqi authorities or the United States.
Appeals, highlighting the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams have come from all over the world - most notably from Muslims.
Yesterday, three Muslim detainees who have been held for years without charge in Canada, urged that the hostages be shown mercy and set free.
A Montreal Muslim also headed for Baghdad last night in a last-ditch bid to save the lives of the four.
"The main goal of my trip is to voice very clearly, on the ground in Iraq, in Arabic, the conviction that these people are not spies," Ehab Lotayef, 47, said before boarding an Air France plane bound for Paris on a one-man peace mission sponsored by the Canadian Islamic Congress. "There is no reason for any of them to face this outcome."
It came as further video footage of the Christian hostages emerged, which featured the British peace activist Norman Kember.
"I ask Mr Blair to take British troops out of Iraq and leave the Iraqi people to come to their own decisions on their government," said Norman Kember, 74 in the video.
Another hostage Tom Fox said that "as a representative of Christian Peacemaker Team, we feel that continued American and British occupation is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people."
[Also on Ekklesia: Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; 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]