Christian Peacemaker Team Members Held Hostage in Iraq
Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad were kidnapped on Tuesday and are held hostage in Iraq. CPT is an ecumenical peacemaking agency associated with the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers. Its members are deeply committed to non-violent peacemaking and are willing to put their lives on the line to make it happen.
Here’s what CPT Iraq web page says about CPT’s presence and work in Iraq.
“CPT initiated a long-term presence in Iraq in October 2002, six months before the beginning of the U.S. led invasion in March of 2003. The primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them. Issues related to detainees remain but the current focus of the team has expanded to include efforts to end occupation and militarization of the country and to foster nonviolent and just alternatives for a free and independent Iraq.”
Seymour Hirsch the New Yorker journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib story quoted CPT’s Cliff Kindy in his article, "The Chain of Command." You can read that article here: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040517fa_fact2
Back in the late 1980s in Chicago, I was very involved with friends from Christian Peacemaker Teams. Today, I had conversations with leaders of CPT in Chicago, Jewish and Muslim leaders, and colleagues at the World Council of Churches about our best strategies. Out of concern for the delicate nature of the situation, at this time we are not making any statements and discouraging statements by any Americans, including American Muslims and American peace groups. Instead we are leaning on Arab Muslim leaders to take the initiative on this.
I urge you and your faith community to engage in prayer for the peacemakers, their families and loved ones. More information about the situation and about the hostages themselves can be found at the Christian Peacemaker Teams website: http://www.cpt.org.