Messages of Support

A member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams holds a sign for American Iraq hostage Tom Fox during a memorial in the West Bank town of Hebron, Saturday, March 11, 2006.



(McLean, VA, 3/11/06) Langley Hill Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) mourns the passing of our beloved member Tom Fox. In the months since the kidnapping of the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, we have held Tom, his fellow captives, and their captors in our prayers. We express our deepest wish that the kidnappers will release Norman, Jim, and Harmeet unharmed so that they may return safely to their families, and continue the work of peace and understanding that CPT was undertaking in Iraq.

Tom was a member of our faith community for over 15 years. He was a former Clerk (lay leader) of the Meeting, and loved working with children and young people. When he last returned from Baghdad in the summer of 2005, he spent time serving as head cook at a Quaker camp near Winchester. His death is especially hard on the children who knew and loved him. We express our love and concern for them, and particularly for Tom's own children who grew up in our Meeting.

In a statement of conviction Tom wrote in October 2004, he said "We reject violence to punish anyone who harms us. We ask for equal justice in the arrest and trial of anyone, soldier or civilian, who commits an act of violence, and we ask that there be no retaliation on their relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. Therefore, any penalty should be in the spirit of restorative justice, rather than in the form of violent retribution."

It was an act of courage for Tom to travel to Iraq, to live in an ordinary Baghdad neighborhood, and to try to give voice to the concerns of ordinary people with friends and family members held in prison, out of sight, and with no avenue for communication.

The loss of Tom is personal to those of us at Langley Hill who knew and loved him. We need to remember that personal loss has also happened to thousands of Iraqis - indeed to tens of thousands of families around the world - who have lost loved ones in acts of violence just in the past year. Tom's story is being shared widely; the stories of these other losses have not been. We at Langley Hill will honor Tom's courage by ensuring that the work to which he was dedicated continues, and that all the stories of loss - not just Langley Hill's - are told.

* * * * * * * * *

CONTACT: Marge Epstein, 703-525-0998, e-mail: [email protected]