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Media release: NZ Council of Christians and Muslims

3 December 2005

The New Zealand Council of Christians and Muslims wish to express that we are deeply concerned for the four volunteers of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) who have been kidnapped in Iraq.

It is regrettable that these men, who have devoted their lives to peace and justice and have travelled very far and at considerable risk to themselves to be in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are resisting the American occupation of Iraq, are now in this regrettable position.

In particular the council wishes to express their concern over the kidnapping of Harmeet Sooden, a Canadian Citizen who has been studying at Auckland University. Mr. Sooden is in Iraq solely for peaceful purposes and is passionate about taking an active role in giving humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.

Ashraf Anwar, Co-President of the Council said, "It is evident that the men and the organization they were with, the Christian Peacemaker Team are not spies and are sincere peace workers.

"We oppose the occupations of Iraq and Palestine but we do not believe that taking innocent people hostage is fair on the families of the men or to the Iraqis who they have been supporting.

"Harmeet from all reports is a very special person, and he is very peaceful and gentle. He has already risked his life in the past year to aid the Palestinians in the West Bank, who like us are deeply troubled for his safety.

"We are praying and hoping for the volunteers safe return and our thoughts are with their families and friends", concluded Mr. Anwar

Media Release,
New Zealand Council of Christians and Muslims

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