Faithful urged to pray for release of hostages

By on December 13, 2005

The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) is urging all people of faith to pray for the safe release of four Christian peace activists, including two Canadians, who are being held by Swords of Righteousness Brigades, an insurgent group in Iraq. In a statement, the CCC, an ecumenical group comprising 19 churches (including the Anglican Church of Canada), said the four hostages “are committed to peace and human rights.” The four hostages — Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, Briton Norman Kember, and American Tom Fox — were working for the human rights group Christian Peacemaker Teams when they were abducted at gunpoint in Baghdad on Nov. 26. There has been no word about the fate of the activists whom the militants had threatened to kill if their demands weren’t met by Dec. 10. That deadline passed without word of the hostages. The abductors have demanded that American and British authorities free all prisoners being held in Iraq. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has also joined the calls for the immediate release of the activists. “Their prolonged activity is not in anyone’s interest and is likely to further embitter and polarize Iraqi society causing anger and frustration,” the WCC said in a statement. The WCC noted that the four activists were working in Iraq “to bring about peace and reconciliation and for protection of civilians.”

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