Saturday, March 11, 2006


[via Ekklesia] The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the USA has confirmed that the body of an American citizen found in Iraq yesterday is that of Tom Fox, one of four Christian peace activists kidnapped on 26 November 2005.

Fox's family has been informed of the tragic loss. There is no further news of the other hostages - Briton Norman Kember and Canadians Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden – who were seen recently on a video released to the al-Jazeera TV station.

Expressions of sorrow and solidarity have begun to pour into the headquarters of Christian Peacemaker Teams, following the news of Tom Fox’s death.

CPT, an ecumenically-supported ministry of the historic peace churches (Mennonites, Brethren in Christ and Quakers) says that the awful news will not deter their determination to confront Iraq’s occupation and cycle of violence with “unarmed love”.

At a hastily convened global press conference in Chicago this morning, the following statement was released the world’s media:

“In grief we tremble before God who wraps us with compassion. The death of our beloved colleague and friend pierces us with pain. Tom Fox's body was found in Baghdad yesterday.

“Christian Peacemaker Teams extends our deep and heartfelt condolences to the family and community of Tom Fox, with whom we have traveled so closely in these days of crisis.

“We mourn the loss of Tom Fox who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.

“We renew our plea for the safe release of Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember.

“Each of our teammates has responded to Jesus's prophetic call to live out a nonviolent alternative to the cycle of violence and revenge.

“In response to Tom's passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done.

“In Tom's own words: ‘We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask that there be no retaliation on relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening nonviolently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation.’

“Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.

“Through these days of crisis, Christian Peacemaker Teams has been surrounded and upheld by a great outpouring of compassion: messages of support, acts of mercy, prayers, and public actions offered by the most senior religious councils and by school children, by political leaders and by those organizing for justice and human rights, by friends in distant nations and by strangers near at hand.

“These words and actions sustain us.

“While one of our teammates is lost to us, the strength of this outpouring is not lost to God’s movement for just peace among all peoples.

“At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are profoundly grateful.

“Their graciousness inspires us to continue working for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and United Kingdom.

“Such an outpouring of action for justice and peace would be a fitting memorial for Tom.

“Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed or are missing, and in so doing may we hasten the day when both those who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to their homes.

“In such a peace we will find solace for our grief.

“Despite the tragedy of this day, we remain committed to put into practice these words of Jim Loney: ‘With the waging of war, we will not comply. With the help of God’s grace, we will struggle for justice. With God's abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies.’

“We continue in hope for Jim, Harmeet and Norman's safe return home safe.”

Also: Christian peacemakers say Bush and Blair responsible for abduction of colleagues in Iraq 08/03/06; Report documents continuing abuse of Iraq detainees 08/03/06. Tom Fox reflection: "Why are we here?",written the day before the abduction. CPT Iraq Statement of Conviction signed by Tom in March 2005.

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