Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four - news from ekklesia

Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
8 Jan 2006

Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four

-08/01/06

Speaking to BBC Radio 4ís Broadcasting House programme this morning, Muslim Association of Britain envoy Anas Altikriti has said that he is considering returning to Iraq to negotiate further on behalf of Dr Norman Kember and three other Christian peace workers held captive there since November 2005.

Mr Altikriti, who was born in Iraq himself and has been active in the anti-war movement, went to the country in December 2005 to seek the release of the men ñ who have received unprecedented support from Muslims across the world.

He was speaking after yesterdayís vigils for Norman Kember in Birmingham and London.

Along with Pax Christi general secretary Pat Gaffney, Mr Altikriti lamented lack of recent attention to the Iraq hostages in the mainstream media.

He and Ms Gaffney, head of the British section of an international Catholic peace network, stressed that a high profile for the case was important to a successful outcome.

Also interviewed was Geoffrey Whitfield, a friend of Dr Kemberís, whose wife Pat has recently made a further plea for her husbandís release on Arabic TV.

Mr Whitfield said he remained hopeful, in spite of natural forebodings.

The prospects of Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were further boosted this morning by the news that Bernard Planche, another abducted humanitarian worker in Iraq, has been released outside Abu Ghraib, twenty miles outside Baghdad.

Anas Altikriti told the BBC that the most frustrating aspect of the situation from the perspective of those seeking the four menís release was that no direct conversation had been possible with their abductors, an unknown group calling itself Swords of Truth (Righteousness) Brigades.

It is this which has motivated the Muslim envoy to consider returning to Iraq to see what new leads and possibilities can be followed up.

Although there has been media speculation, something specifically discouraged by Christian Peacemaker Teams (for whom the captives are volunteers), nothing concrete is known about the kidnappers.

In December 2005 they set two deadlines tying the fate of the men to the withdrawal of western forces from Iraq.

But it was pointed out on al-Jazeera and many Arabic stations that the four had consistently opposed the occupation and were working for the release of detainees.

In fact it was CPT that first exposed the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal, some four months before it was widely talked about in the mainstream media.

Mr Altikriti said that since he had returned from Iraq the pleas and vigils inside the country calling for the freeing of the men had continued. It was in the West where their profile had left the headlines.

Supporters and friends of the four peace workers have maintained a constant campaign on their behalf, and the vigils in different parts of the world have attracted Christians, Muslims and those of other or no particular faith ñ people who wish to see an end to violence, injustice and bloodshed on all sides.

Christian Peacemaker Teams established an Epiphany vigil outside the White House in Washington DC on Friday. They have asked to talk directly to President George W. Bush about the situation in Iraq and American policy.

Although many newspapers and TV stations have relegated the Iraq hostage story in recent weeks, radio and local media have kept it going.

In Britain, the UK Christian think-tank and news service Ekklesia, which is associated with CPT in Britain and syndicated worldwide, has been reporting daily on events.

[Updated complete chronological list of related articles on Ekklesia as of 08 January 2006 AM: Features - Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Christian peacemakers - a lesson to the peace movement (by Mark A. LeVine); A culture of Christian citizenship (Pat Gaffney, CAFOD, Advent inc. Iraq); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox). Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh (Sojourners magazine). What on earth are we waiting for? (Simon Barrow, Advent and Iraq); Watching and waiting with the Christian peacemakers in Iraq (Lee McKenna duCharme). Updates: FaithInSociety; News - Release of French engineer brings Iraq hostage hope 08/01/06; Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers 07/01/06; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers 06/01/06; Norman Kember's wife in new TV appeal to Iraq captors 06/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced 04/01/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams seek meeting with President Bush 04/01/06; Speculation continues over kidnapped peace workers in Iraq 04/01/06; Middle East Christians and Muslims renew plea for Iraq captives 01/01/06; Baptists urge support for Norman Kember 31/12/05; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq 30/12/05; Iraqi and Palestinian Christians seek an end to violence 28/12/05; Radio messages sent to captors in Iraq 27/12/05; British Muslims in fresh plea for Norman Kember 25/12/05; New appeal for release of Iraq peace workers 24/12/05; Churches Urged to pray for Iraq hostages this Christmas 24/12/05; United Church of Canada calls for an end to detention and occupation in Iraq 21/12/05; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember 21/12/05; Christian Peacemakers say they will carry on their work 18/12/05; Lack of evidence for Iraq negotiator abduction claim 17/12/05; Fears 'unfounded' over Iraq hostage negotiator 16/12/05; Search goes on for missing Christian peace workers 16/12/05; UK envoy remains hopeful on Iraq captives 16/12/05; Muslim envoy to Iraq returns as al-Jazeera publicizes mercy pleas 14/12/05; Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay 14/12/05; Canadian churches pray for missing peace activists 13/12/05; Cardinal joins pleas for Iraq peace workers; Praying for a miracle amid Iraq hostage silence 12/12/05; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember 12/12/05; Officials and families seek news on Iraq Christian peace workers 12/12/05; Lobbying goes on as Iraq hostage deadline passes 11/12/05; Hope continues as Iraq captive deadline looms 10/12/05; Embattled Hezbollah backs Iraq 'doves of peace' 09/12/05; UN secretary general calls for release of all Iraqi captives 09/12/05; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peacemakers 08/12/05; Jack Straw says he will talk on Iraq hostages 08/12/05; Abu Qatada pleas for Iraq captives as deadline is extended 08/12/05; Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; 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; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox); Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; 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; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]

Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four

-08/01/06

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme this morning, Muslim Association of Britain envoy Anas Altikriti has said that he is considering returning to Iraq to negotiate further on behalf of Dr Norman Kember and three other Christian peace workers held captive there since November 2005.

Mr Altikriti, who was born in Iraq himself and has been active in the anti-war movement, went to the country in December 2005 to seek the release of the men - who have received unprecedented support from Muslims across the world.

He was speaking after yesterday's vigils for Norman Kember in Birmingham and London.

Along with Pax Christi general secretary Pat Gaffney, Mr Altikriti lamented lack of recent attention to the Iraq hostages in the mainstream media.

He and Ms Gaffney, head of the British section of an international Catholic peace network, stressed that a high profile for the case was important to a successful outcome.

Also interviewed was Geoffrey Whitfield, a friend of Dr Kember's, whose wife Pat has recently made a further plea for her husband's release on Arabic TV.

Mr Whitfield said he remained hopeful, in spite of natural forebodings.

The prospects of Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were further boosted this morning by the news that Bernard Planche, another abducted humanitarian worker in Iraq, has been released outside Abu Ghraib, twenty miles outside Baghdad.

Anas Altikriti told the BBC that the most frustrating aspect of the situation from the perspective of those seeking the four men's release was that no direct conversation had been possible with their abductors, an unknown group calling itself Swords of Truth (Righteousness) Brigades.

It is this which has motivated the Muslim envoy to consider returning to Iraq to see what new leads and possibilities can be followed up.

Although there has been media speculation, something specifically discouraged by Christian Peacemaker Teams (for whom the captives are volunteers), nothing concrete is known about the kidnappers.

In December 2005 they set two deadlines tying the fate of the men to the withdrawal of western forces from Iraq.

But it was pointed out on al-Jazeera and many Arabic stations that the four had consistently opposed the occupation and were working for the release of detainees.

In fact it was CPT that first exposed the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal, some four months before it was widely talked about in the mainstream media.

Mr Altikriti said that since he had returned from Iraq the pleas and vigils inside the country calling for the freeing of the men had continued. It was in the West where their profile had left the headlines.

Supporters and friends of the four peace workers have maintained a constant campaign on their behalf, and the vigils in different parts of the world have attracted Christians, Muslims and those of other or no particular faith - people who wish to see an end to violence, injustice and bloodshed on all sides.

Christian Peacemaker Teams established an Epiphany vigil outside the White House in Washington DC on Friday. They have asked to talk directly to President George W. Bush about the situation in Iraq and American policy.

Although many newspapers and TV stations have relegated the Iraq hostage story in recent weeks, radio and local media have kept it going.

In Britain, the UK Christian think-tank and news service Ekklesia, which is associated with CPT in Britain and syndicated worldwide, has been reporting daily on events.

[Updated complete chronological list of related articles on Ekklesia as of 08 January 2006 AM: Features - Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Christian peacemakers - a lesson to the peace movement (by Mark A. LeVine); A culture of Christian citizenship (Pat Gaffney, CAFOD, Advent inc. Iraq); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox). Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh (Sojourners magazine). What on earth are we waiting for? (Simon Barrow, Advent and Iraq); Watching and waiting with the Christian peacemakers in Iraq (Lee McKenna duCharme). Updates: FaithInSociety; News - Release of French engineer brings Iraq hostage hope 08/01/06; Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers 07/01/06; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers 06/01/06; Norman Kember's wife in new TV appeal to Iraq captors 06/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced 04/01/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams seek meeting with President Bush 04/01/06; Speculation continues over kidnapped peace workers in Iraq 04/01/06; Middle East Christians and Muslims renew plea for Iraq captives 01/01/06; Baptists urge support for Norman Kember 31/12/05; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq 30/12/05; Iraqi and Palestinian Christians seek an end to violence 28/12/05; Radio messages sent to captors in Iraq 27/12/05; British Muslims in fresh plea for Norman Kember 25/12/05; New appeal for release of Iraq peace workers 24/12/05; Churches Urged to pray for Iraq hostages this Christmas 24/12/05; United Church of Canada calls for an end to detention and occupation in Iraq 21/12/05; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember 21/12/05; Christian Peacemakers say they will carry on their work 18/12/05; Lack of evidence for Iraq negotiator abduction claim 17/12/05; Fears 'unfounded' over Iraq hostage negotiator 16/12/05; Search goes on for missing Christian peace workers 16/12/05; UK envoy remains hopeful on Iraq captives 16/12/05; Muslim envoy to Iraq returns as al-Jazeera publicizes mercy pleas 14/12/05; Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay 14/12/05; Canadian churches pray for missing peace activists 13/12/05; Cardinal joins pleas for Iraq peace workers; Praying for a miracle amid Iraq hostage silence 12/12/05; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember 12/12/05; Officials and families seek news on Iraq Christian peace workers 12/12/05; Lobbying goes on as Iraq hostage deadline passes 11/12/05; Hope continues as Iraq captive deadline looms 10/12/05; Embattled Hezbollah backs Iraq 'doves of peace' 09/12/05; UN secretary general calls for release of all Iraqi captives 09/12/05; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peacemakers 08/12/05; Jack Straw says he will talk on Iraq hostages 08/12/05; Abu Qatada pleas for Iraq captives as deadline is extended 08/12/05; Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; 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; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox); Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; 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; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]

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