November 29, 2005

Brit, American, & Canadian Hostages Worked for anti-war Christian Peace Organization

norman_kember_hostage_iraq.jpgUPDATE: Jawa Report Exclusive--names of hostages released. Names, images, and video of the hostages here.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) organization has confirmed to The Jawa Report in an e-mail that Norman Kember, an unidentified Canadian, and two unidentified Americans were abducted from that group's Iraq peace delegation.

The Christian pacifist organization declined to name the three other hostages at this time.

In a seperate statement released today by the organization, the CPT said:

CPT has been present in Iraq since October, 2002. The Team's work has focused on documenting and focusing public attention on detainee abuses and connecting citizens of Iraq to local and international human rights organizations. Iraqi friends and human rights workers have welcomed the Team as a non-violent, independent presence and asked that the Team tell the stories of Iraqis.

In a "Statement of Conviction," the long-term Team members stated that they "are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face," and affirmed that the risks did not outweigh their purpose in remaining. They express the hope that "in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."

CPT does not advocate the use of violent force to save our lives should we be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a conflict situation.

So, the CPT would stand on principle and allow their representatives in Iraq to die rather than risk the lives of the terrorists that took them in a rescue operation? A perverse sense of Christian morality in my book.

Advice to CPT from a long-time hostage activist: trying to convince the hostage takers that you are on their side may work, depending on what type of group abducted your representatives. Arab nationalist, non-Salaafist jihadis, and Shia jihad groups may be convinced using this method but only if a simultaneous public campaign from clerics is undertaken. To do this you must release the names of the other victims.

Of course, if this was simply a criminal act then the above should be undertaken in addition to ransom negotiations. Many criminals who engage in hostage taking of Westerners do so with the justification (backed by certain Islamic traditions) that the ransoming of infidels is permitted. Shame from influential clerics can go along way in convincing criminals to release hostages.

However, if it was Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna, or any related Salaafist jihad organization then this will have no effect. The only hope would be a rescue. Fortunately if the hostages are located a rescue will be attempted, even over the objections of CPT.

UPDATE: Via Captain Ed, we learn that Norman Kember was a family friend of blogger Hammerswing. As mentioned in our earlier post, we join Hammerswing with our prayers for Kember, even if we think he was a misguided idealist.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:04 AM | Comments |