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PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY:

Dear Friends of Christian Peacemaker Teams,

Yesterday we received the tragic news that our friend and colleague, Tom Fox, was killed in Baghdad. Tom was kidnapped on November 26 along with three other CPT workers – Canadians Jim Loney and Harmeet Sooden, and Briton Norman Kember.

Please join us for a public vigil to stand in the light of Tom’s courageous witness and to pray for the safe release of Jim, Harmeet and Norman still missing in Iraq. Details of the vigil and CPT’s "Response to the Death of Peacemaker Tom Fox" follow:

Prayer Vigil: "Standing in the Light of Tom’s Witness"

Saturday, March 11; 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Federal Plaza; Chicago (Adams & Dearborn)

Join Christian Peacemaker Teams to honor the life and memory of Tom Fox, Christian peacemaker killed in Baghdad, and pray for the safe release of James Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden still missing in Iraq

Photos of Tom Fox, and others missing in Iraq, are available on our website: www.cpt.org
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CHICAGO/TORONTO/IRAQ: We mourn the loss of Tom Fox

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' 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. In so doing, we may 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.
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MEDIA ALERT - PRESS CONFERENCE


WHERE & WHEN:

Chicago – Douglas Park Church of the Brethren
1605 S. California Ave.,
5:30 A.M. CST, March 7, 2006



Toronto – 25 Cecil Street
6:30 A.M. EST, March 7, 2006



WHY: Response to new video of Christian Peacemakers missing in Iraq




Photos of CPTers who are missing in Iraq are available on website: www.cpt.org



Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is aware that a new videotape showing members of our organization abducted in Iraq on November 26, 2005 has aired today on Al-Jazeera television. We continue to pray for their safe and speedy release so that they may return to their families and carry on their peaceful work on behalf of all Iraqi detainees.



This past weekend marked the 100th day since our friends disappeared in Baghdad. In vigils around the world, people came together to honour our missing colleagues and to call for their safe release. We also hold in our hearts the families of 14,600 Iraqis currently detained illegally by the Multi-national Forces in Iraq who likewise await the release of their loved ones. These detainees are being held without formal charges, without access to their families and legal advisors, and without recourse to a fair and open judicial process.



In the latest video we were so glad to see Jim Loney alive. We were so glad to see Harmeet Sooden alive. We were so glad to see Norman Kember alive. We do not know what to make of Tom Fox’s absence from this video. However we do know what motivated Tom and his colleagues to go to Iraq. Tom wrote on the day before he was taken, “We are here to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. ...How we take part in the creation of this realm is to love God with all our heart, our mind and our strength, and to love our neighbours and enemies as we love God and ourselves.”



Many Iraqi friends and human rights workers welcome CPT as a non-violent, independent presence. Iraqis have asked us to tell their stories in our home communities, to share with them our own experiences of peacemaking, to assist them in building nonviolent institutions in Iraq, and to accompany them as they seek justice for detainees and others suffering from the oppression of Iraq. We seek to promote what is human in all of us and so to offer a glimpse of hope in a dark time. This hope springs from our own faith tradition. We have witnessed a similar hope within the faith traditions of the people of Iraq.



We believe that the root cause of the abduction of our colleagues is the U.S. and British-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Many in Iraq have experienced this long war as terrorism. The occupation must end. Work towards this is being coordinated by the Global Call for Nonviolent Resistance to End the Military Occupation of Iraq. The next events in this global campaign are scheduled in cities around the world for Mar. 18-20, which marks the third anniversary of the attack on Iraq. We urge citizens everywhere to join this effort to end the occupation. More information is available at



Now is the time for those holding our colleagues Harmeet, Norman, Jim and Tom to release them back to the care of their families, and back to the peacemaking work which inspired them to come to Iraq.



Christian Peacemaker Teams is a violence-reduction programme and has been present in Iraq since October 2002. Teams of trained peacemakers work in areas of lethal conflict around the world.

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