Statements of support for Tom Fox from Friends Meetings and others

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News about Tom Fox and CPT

Statements of support for Tom Fox from Friends Meetings and others

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Related links:
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• Handouts (PDF) for prayer vigils for CPT •
• CPT News (constantly updated) (Nonviolence.org) •
• Pray for Captured Peacemakers •
• Friends missing in Iraq (FUM website) •
• CPT Mennonite website •
• Scoop: Video: Second Release Of Hostage Video •
• Petition: Please Release Our Friends in Iraq •
• Interview with Kassie Fox on ABC's Nightline •
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This page last update on Thursday, May 11, 2006 12:35 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT OF LANGLEY HILL FRIENDS MEETING ON THE DEATH OF OUR FRIEND, TOM FOX, IN IRAQ

(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: mcoxepstein@yahoo.com
 

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CPT Release on the Discovery of Tom Fox's Body in Baghdad 10 March 2006


In grief we tremble before God who wraps us with compassion. The death of our beloved colleague and friend pierces us with pain. Tom Fox's body was found in Baghdad yesterday.

Christian Peacemaker Teams extends our deep and heartfelt condolences to the family and community of Tom Fox, with whom we have traveled so closely in these days of crisis.

We mourn the loss of Tom Fox who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.

We renew our plea for the safe release of Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember. Each of our teammates has responded to Jesus' prophetic call to live out a nonviolent alternative to the cycle of violence and revenge.

In response to Tom's passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done. In Tom's own words: "We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask that there be no retaliation on relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening nonviolently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."

Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.

Through these days of crisis, Christian Peacemaker Teams has been surrounded and upheld by a great outpouring of compassion: messages of support, acts of mercy, prayers, and public actions offered by the most senior religious councils and by school children, by political leaders and by those organizing for justice and human rights, by friends in distant nations and by strangers near at hand. These words and actions sustain us. While one of our teammates is lost to us, the strength of this outpouring is not lost to God's movement for just peace among all peoples.

At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are profoundly grateful. Their graciousness inspires us to continue working for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and United Kingdom.

Such an outpouring of action for justice and peace would be a fitting memorial for Tom. Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed or are missing, and in so doing may we hasten the day when both those who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to their homes. In such a peace we will find solace for our grief.

Despite the tragedy of this day, we remain committed to put into practice these words of Jim Loney: "With the waging of war, we will not comply. With the help of God's grace, we will struggle for justice. With God's abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies." We continue in hope for Jim, Harmeet and Norman's safe return home safe.
 

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON DEATH OF U.S. HOSTAGE IN IRAQ Islamic advocacy group calls for immediate release of all hostages<


(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/10/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered its condolences to the family of Tom Fox, an American peace activist taken hostage in Iraq late last year.

Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Va., was one of four Christian Peacemaker Teams workers kidnapped in Baghdad last November. His body was found near Baghdad on Thursday.

SEE: FBI: Body of U.S. Hostage Found in Iraq

In a statement, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

"We offer the American Muslim community's sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Tom Fox, and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages in Iraq. There can be no excuse or justification for harming a person whose only goal was to serve the cause of peace and justice for people of all faiths."

In December of last year, CAIR held an interfaith news conference in Washington, D.C., to call for the release of the Christian Peacemakers Teams workers. At that news conference, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed called the workers "longtime friends of the Muslim community." He said, "Taking hostages and threatening to kill them brings no honor to Islam, Muslims or to the people of Iraq."

CAIR also sent a delegation to Iraq to appeal for the release of American journalist Jill Carroll who was abducted January 7th while on assignment for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper.

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.


- END -

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Dear Friends of Langley Hill Friends Meeting,

With you Friends in Dunedin grieve at the bitter news of the death of your Friend Tom Fox in Iraq. Like many others worldwide, we have engaged in prayer and hope in God's light that his kidnappers would be moved to release him and his three companions. Please convey our love and sympathy to Tom's family and to all those close to him.

Tom will be for ever on the glorious list of those who offered what was most precious to them in faithfulness to their leading. He took this risk for the sake of the peace of the world and of a just and right solution for the people of Iraq. May God's mercy and love be with him, with all those in need or danger, and with us all. May all those who engage in violence be set free to love.

Your Friend,

Elizabeth Duke (Clerk, Dunedin Monthly Meeting)

752 Highgate
Dunedin 9001
New Zealand
 

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Dear Friend,

I am writing as a Co-Clerk of Westminster Preparative Meeting of Friends to send you our loving and compassionate thoughts and prayers.

It is difficult to find the right words to write: but Friends of Westminster Meeting will be wanting to uphold Tom Fox's family, friends and his Meeting.

May the Grace of God be with you ask you seek the spiritual strength that you need so you can offer each other loving support at this heart-rending time.

Yours, In Loving Friendship,

Michael

Michael S Booth
Co-Clerk,
Westminster PM,
Britain Yearly Meeting.

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Dear Friends,

We have heard the sad news of the death of Tom Fox today, and want to let you know that we are thinking of you and holding you in the light. We do not know Tom, but from all that we have read he was a wonderful peace activist, committed to the beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends. Our thoughts are with you, as his worshipping community.

With love,

Stephen Pittam and Jane Tod
New Earswick Preparative Meeting
York, UK
 

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Dear Friends at Langley Hill,


I join you in grieving at the saddening news of the murder of Tom Fox. May his courageous witness of faith and love, nurtured by the sometimes mysterious creative-loving power that sustains us all, become a seedling that grows into a garden of peace--the garden we all seek to grow and tend. As your prayerfulness no doubt powerfully sustained his hope and work, may millions of prayers now sustain you and his family. May they renew and sustain the actions of all of us to bring deep and lasting peace where now there is war.
 

In love,
Rev. Mark E. Hoelter
Coordinator for Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue The InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

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Dear Friends,
Although I did not personally know Tom Fox, I wish to join with you and others in remembering his dedication to peace, even in the face of violence. Although his body may have been destroyed, his voice has not been silenced, and the Light which was within him and to which he bore witness shines still and will continue to shine brightly in the time to come.

In peace and light,
Tom Rothschild
(Brooklyn MM, Brooklyn, NY)
 

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To the Friends at Langley -

I was at the vigil last night when the word came. The six of us were overcome with sorrow and a grief that had no words.

I want to express my deepest sympathy to all who knew Tom Fox. I hold you, one and all, to my heart. May each of you be comforted.

I did not know Tom Fox personally. I began praying for him as soon as I heard of his abduction in Iraq. For me, Tom represented all that is good in the world: love for our fellow man/woman, forgiveness, values that are testimonies for others, values that pursue actions that relect ideals of social justice and peace on earth, witness of God speaking in the Light where there is darkness, and life as sacred presence - where God is in everyone.

When I came to the Langley Friends Meeting last Sunday and when I was called to attend the vigil last night, I found that what Tom represented for me was also present in ALL of you. That each of you carry the same vital testimony and are pursuing values through action that reflect the ideals of social justice and peace on earth.

I hold each of you to my heart today and in the coming days. The common values that unite you - the promotion of social and economic justice, kindness in your daily living, and the support of each other's search for God within are authentic expressions of all that is good in the world.

With sincere regards,

Khari LaMarca
 

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Dear Friends at Langley Hill Meeting,

I send you love and thanks for your work, worship and witness in the world and for the way you have held yourselves and upheld Tom. We have regularly been upholding you all in meeting for worship here at Woodbrooke - the Quaker college in Birmingham, England - a number of people here know him. We will continue to hold you and Tom's family in the light.

Bless you.

in love, friendship and peace

and with light undimmed

Lizz Roe
Woodbrooke Tutor in Practical Theology
 

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Dear Friends:
 
I am so grieved to learn of the death of Tom Fox, and I wish to extend my condolences to all of you, to Mr. Fox's family and other friends and associates.    I am so very, very sorry.
 
The only comfort I can find in this is that he lived a peaceful mission and honestly put his life on the line for the sake of God's message and the benefit of his fellow human beings. 
 
If there is any effort, cause, project, or memorial to which people can contribute in memory of Mr. Fox, please do let me know.
 
With sincere condolences to all of you,
Catherine Hagman

 

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Tom Fox Exemplified Nonviolent Activism Taught at EMU

The death announced yesterday of Tom Fox, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq, serves as a reminder of the difficulty of the nonviolent work taught and advocated by Eastern Mennonite University
(EMU) in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, about two hours west of Washington D.C.

At this time last year, Tom Fox was sitting in an EMU class on "strategic peacebuilding," preparing himself for his next trip to Iraq. Before being taken hostage in November, Fox was scheduled to return to EMU a few weeks ago to speak on his experiences as a Christian peacemaker.

Fox's professor in the strategic peacebuilding class, Lisa Schirch, said Fox would not want his fellow students at EMU to become discouraged by his death. Instead, she said, "may we all find a way to renew our own personal efforts to transform trauma, anger, fear, and sadness into something more positive."

Ruth Zimmerman, co-director of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, said that we all have a responsibility to break the cycle of violence and vengeance that has caused the deaths of tens of thousands in Iraq, including Tom Fox. "The answer is not more violence, more vengeance," she said. "The answer is more people with the courage and faith of Tom Fox to stand up and say, 'Love, forgiveness, and restorative justice are the answers, not violent retribution.'"

Tom Fox is the first to be killed in "the line of duty" of the 2,000 peace workers that have received training through EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, but many others have been threatened and some have been beaten, said Zimmerman.

EMU alumni have been following Fox's fate with close attention and much prayer. Zimmerman said she is especially proud of EMU's Muslim alumni and visiting professors who bravely spoke on behalf of the Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages last December.

"Attacking and terrorizing civilians, human rights advocates, relief workers, and peace advocates has never been an Islamic way of resisting occupation or fighting oppression," wrote Mohammed Abu-Nimer, an American University faculty member who also teaches most summers at EMU's Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

Khadija Ossoble Ali, a Somali Muslim who earned a masters degree in conflict transformation at EMU in 2000, responded to news of Fox's death with this e-mailed comment to her fellow alumni: "He was the hope for a better future for all of us who have been kept hostage by a small minority in the name of religion.

"May we all pray for Tom, for his bravery and courageous work and may god bless him and give us the strength to succeed and transform our despair to a more peaceful coexistence as human beings."

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber said: "Tom's death, while serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams, reminds us of the tragic deaths of people of all nationalities through senseless violence around the world."

An EMU-sponsored event will be held at 6 p.m. this evening to discuss learnings from Fox' life and death and to collectively share our hopes for the release of the other three CPT hostages and for the well-being of all suffering in Iraq.
 

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Dear Friends at Langley Hill Meeting,

I send you love and thanks for your work, worship and witness in the world and for the way you have held yourselves and upheld Tom. We have regularly been upholding you all in meeting for worship here at Woodbrooke - the Quaker college in Birmingham, England - a number of people here know him. We will continue to hold you and Tom's family in the light.

Bless you.

in love, friendship and peace

and with light undimmed

Lizz Roe
Woodbrooke Tutor in Practical Theology

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Dear Friends,

We’ve’ve just heard about Tom Fox, and realise that the Meeting must be going through a great deal.  May you, the family and the life of Tom Fox be held in the Light.

In peace,

Adrian Glamorgan and Caz Bowman,
Fremantle, Western Australia

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Dear Friends,

I hope you will pass my message to CPT and Langly Hill Meeting.

I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Tom, a person committed for Peace and Justice and Non-violence.

Yes I am sure his family and friends will miss his phisical presence, but his death was more about life than about death.Tom continued to affirm life in the midst of death and destruction. His example and witness will live in the hearts and minds of all who believe in his mission for peace.

To memoralize the victims of war and violence, let us committ our lives to work for peace and this has been Tom's Legacy.

With my deepest sympathy to his family and friends, to CPT, and to all of us .Your loss is our loss as well.

In Friendship,

Jean Zaru, Clerk, Ramallah Friends Meeting (Palestine)

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I wasn't sure if this is the right address to contact but I just wanted to add my condolences to the thousands I'm sure you've gotten from around the world. This is not only a loss to Tom's family & your meeting, it's a loss to the worldwide Quaker family & to peace itself. Please forward my message to the Fox family & know that I'll continue to pray for not only the other 3 CPT hostages but for all the hostages being held.

Susan McCook
Tacoma, WA

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Dear Jim and CPT members around the world:

The Muslim community in Ada, OH, is saddened by the news of the death of CPT member in Iraq Tom Fox. We are outraged by the kidnapping and the killing of Mr. Fox. We are also touched by his peaceful massage, a massage that only great people can carry. We would like to extend our condolences to all CPT members and to the family of Mr. Fox. We greatly appreciate the CPT work and the sacrifices of this group around the world, especially in the Islamic world. We pray that Mr. Fox dreams come true and violence end in Iraq.

Best Regards,

Members of the Muslim Community in Ada, OH

A. F. Alhajji
S. Bazlamit
K. Al-Olimat
R. Farhad
Students in the Muslim Students Association

Dr. Subhi M Bazlamit
Department of Civil Engineering
College of Engineering
Ohio Northern University

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Friends Meeting of Richmond, Va. wanted to let you know that two representatives of the local Muslim community visited us today during worship and expressed their deep sadness at the death of Tom Fox and honored him for his work for peace. The visitors were Malik Khan of the Islamic Center of Va., and M. Imad Damaj, of the Va. Muslim Coalition.

Bob Alexander,
Ministry and Worship

Friends Meeting of Richmond, VA

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The members of Hopewell Centre Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) mourn the loss of our Friend, Tom Fox. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and especially his beloved children Kassie and Andrew. We continue to pray for the safe release of the other Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) workers James Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Singh Sooden. In the months since their capture, we have been heartened by the outpouring of support from our community, especially from the Muslim community here in Winchester. We pray also from the safe release of all who are being held hostage, wherever they may be.


Tom was committed to his work in Iraq and he gave his life in an attempt to bring justice and peace to the Iraqi people. He was not naive about the dangers he faced; he felt that this work was of utmost importance and was willing to face those dangers with love and courage. We need to remember that our loss is replicated every day by thousands of Iraqis whose loved ones have been kidnapped and/or killed in the war. Peace and justice belong to them also. Although we are grieving, we will continue to honor Tom by keeping alive in the Light the work for which he held such passion.

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Dear Friends of Langley Hill Friends Meeting,

With you Friends in Dunedin grieve at the bitter news of the death of your Friend Tom Fox in Iraq. Like many others worldwide, we have engaged in prayer and hope in God's light that his kidnappers would be moved to release him and his three companions. Please convey our love and sympathy to Tom's family and to all those close to him.

Tom will be for ever on the glorious list of those who offered what was most precious to them in faithfulness to their leading. He took this risk for the sake of the peace of the world and of a just and right solution for the people of Iraq. May God's mercy and love be with him, with all those in need or danger, and with us all. May all those who engage in violence be set free to love.

Your Friend,

Elizabeth Duke (Clerk, Dunedin Monthly Meeting)

752 Highgate
Dunedin 9001
New Zealand

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Dear members of the Langley Hill Friends Meeting,

I live in California, am not a Quaker, and have been following the sad news of Tom Fox's death. I read the paper and see news of suffering all over the world and find myself experiencing sorrow somewhat in isolation and with my friends, but not necessarily with those who have endured the immediacy of the loss.

But as I read yesterday of Tom's death, I have felt moved to connect with your Meeting and extend my deepest sympathy. He seemed to be a courageous man, with such faith to act proactively to build a world that we would actually want to inhabit. Even though I didn't know him at all, I wanted to reach out to the members of your Meeting. Please pass this email on to his family as well. He, and they, are in my heart and prayers.

In sympathy,
Eve Eden

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Thank you so much for your message.

Ministry in our Meeting this morning included thoughts about Tom, his children and Langley Hill Meeting.

Parts of the press release was read after notices and many present signed a card from our Meeting to yours which we will send in the post.
The words about remembering others' deaths was emphasized together with the restating of commitment to the peace testimony and forgiveness.

You are all so much in our thoughts and prayers.

with love
from Jane and Stephen

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Community Monthly Meeting of Cincinnati, Ohio expresses our deepest sympathy to the family and Friends of Tom Fox. You are in our hearts and prayers. We share in your loss; we are moved by Tom's witness. Of course, we also remember his fellow captives and captors and all those suffering in regions of conflict and war. We pray for the power of nonviolence and the Spirit to transform our hatred into love.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

Deborah Jordan, Clerk
Community Monthly Meeting
 

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I will continue to hold you, Tom's Family, CPTers and their captors in the Light as I have done since November.

In shared sorrow and with prayers for peace,

Laura Hinerfeld
Redwood Forest Friends Meeting
Santa Rosa, CA

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To:  Langley Hill Friends Meeting

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Ramallah Friends School and the Ramallah Friends Meeting, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the congregation of the Langley Hill Meeting House and to all members of the Langley Hill community for the passing of Tom Fox.  I wish to also ask you to kindly relay my condolences to Tom’s family.

While none of us knew Tom personally, our entire school community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss.  Tom’s opposition to oppression and spirited ambitions for justice deeply resonates among Palestinians living under occupation. 

Though nothing can replace him, we hope that the world’s condolences and prayers will sustain you through these difficult times.  Be assured that Tom’s deeds will always be a source of inspiration among this community and beyond.  

As we hold them in the light, we also continue to pray for the safe return of the other captives and those missing, and for a peaceful conclusion to an unjustifiable war.

Sincerely,

Joyce Ajlouny

Director of Ramallah Friends School and Member of Ramallah Friends Meeting

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Dear Friends at Langley Hill

It is with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of our Friend, Tom Fox.

We affirm the courage of loving nonviolent action which Tom, Norman, Harmeet and Jim's witness conveys so powerfully, and join you in your call to set aside inclinations to vilify or demonise others.

We have been supporting the work of our friends and colleagues in the UK upholding through prayer and vigils Tom, Norman, Harmeet and Jim, their captors and all those caught in the wider tragedy within and beyond Iraq.

We hold you and Tom's family and friends in the Light and pray for you to be granted the strength and love you need to bear this loss.

In peace and friendship

Linda Craig,
General Secretary
Quaker Peace & Social Witness

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Friends,


My family and I are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend Tom Fox! My 10 years old could not understand that that peaceful man he saw and came to appreciate in Springfield was brutally taken away from his loved ones and all of us. He particularly asked me "why lives of peace workers like Dr. King and Tom end like that?". I am still working on giving him an appropriate response!!

Tom welcomed me and my family to his townhouse in Springfield, VA when I accepted my position with AFSC DC. He was instrumental in keeping me at peace in my own struggle as a newcomer, a foreigner! He reflected to us the essence of a man of peace in his words and actions! I truly came to see that of God in me through Tom! I remember asking him so many questions about the Society of Friends, AFSC, Washington politics, and mostly his work in Iraq. He never expressed any regrets for his commitment to peace for the people of Iraq because he strongly believed in peace. I have no doubt in my mind that Tom has prayed for all of us to continue to work for peace in the world! I will look for ways to honor his legacy!

Peta Ikambana
Area Director
American Friends Service Committee
MAR- Washington DC Peace and Economic Justice Program

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Photo of Tom Fox with Palestinian refugee children in Iraq taken in Oct. 2005.
The staff of Sojourners extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Christian Peacemaker Teams member Tom Fox, who was found dead near Baghdad on Thursday. His three teammates, seen in a video broadcast last week, are believed to be alive but remain captive.

As we mourn Tom's death, we focus on his solidarity with the unnamed tens of thousands of Iraqi dead, disappeared, detained, and tortured. Christ is present in their suffering (Matthew 25). Yet, we also recognize that Tom's suffering is special because it was in voluntary obedience to Christ's call to suffer as he did to prove his love for both neighbors and enemies: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it" (Mark 8:34-35).

 

As evidenced by the outpouring of support and sympathy from across religious and national boundaries, Tom's life and death are a testimony to the truth of Jesus' gospel - and a challenge to all who claim to follow it.

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Tom's last journey
by Doug Pritchard
 
Our brother Tom has begun his final journey home.
 
He left Anaconda military base at Balat, Iraq, at dawn on Mar. 13 (9 p.m. EST, Mar. 12), and is expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware at 1 a.m. EST, Mar. 14.
 
CPT Toronto was originally informed by Canadian authorities at 1:30 p.m. EST Mar. 10, that a body had been found in Baghdad which was likely that of Tom Fox. An hour later, when the CPT Iraq team asked officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if they could come to identify the body, they were told that it had already left on a military transport for Dover. Officials had repeatedly assured the team over the previous three months that CPT would be able to accompany our colleagues home "if at all possible." They now said that their only focus was getting the body back to the USA as soon as possible. At 8 p.m. EST, the U.S. State Department confirmed the identity as Tom Fox based on fingerprints.
 
The next day, Mar. 11, at 10 a.m. EST, CPT Iraq learned that Tom's body was still at the Anaconda base at Balat. The U.S. Embassy arranged for Beth Pyles, a member of the CPT Iraq team, to travel to Anaconda, and she was able to keep vigil with Tom for the next 36 hours until his departure. Meanwhile, CPT members Rich Meyer and Anne Montgomery travelled to Dover, and have been in the vicinity since 5 p.m. Mar. 11, keeping vigil and awaiting Tom's arrival.
 
Pyles was present on the tarmac at Anaconda as Tom's coffin was loaded onto the plane for Dover. She reported that his coffin was draped in a U.S. flag. This is unusual for a civilian, but Tom may not have been uncomfortable with this since he had always called his nation to live out the high ideals which it professed. Iraqi detainees who die in U.S custody are also transported to Dover for autopsies and forensics. On this plane, right beside Tom's coffin, was the coffin of an Iraqi detainee. So Tom accompanied an Iraqi detainee in death, just as he had done so often in life.
At Tom's departure, Pyles read out from the gospel of John, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it" (1:5). In honour of Tom's Iraqi companion, she spoke the words called out repeatedly from the mosques of Baghdad during the Shock and Awe bombing campaign in March 2003, "allah akhbar" (God is greater). She concluded the sending with words from the Jewish scriptures, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).
 
Dawn broke. The contingent of Puerto Rican soldiers nearby saluted. The plane taxied away. Venus, the morning star, shone brightly overhead as the night faded away. Godspeed you, Tom, on your final journey home to your family and friends.
 
Doug Pritchard is a co-director of Christian Peacemaker Teams.

 

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Dear Friends,

Friends in Canada are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Tom Fox.
It is difficult to understand what you and all who knew and loved him must be going through. A death so apparently senseless and wrongly-motivated is extremely hard to comprehend. Perhaps the only real comfort is that Tom, the two Canadian CPT members - Jim and Harmeet
- and Norman all knew the dangers they were facing and had accepted them, and they realized that if they lost their lives, it would be in the service of God who sustains and awaits them.

Please accept our sincere sympathy, in the knowledge that our Friend Tom has gone to dwell in everlasting Light.

In Friendship and love,
Beverly Shepard
Clerk
Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

P.S. I will send a paper copy of this letter to your Meeting House for a more tangible expression of our sorrow.


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 Dear Marge,
We were greatly saddened to hear that Tom Fox had been killed in Iraq. Please convey to the family and friends of Tom our thoughts and prayers. We hold him and the remaining hostages in the Light.
There was already planned a peace march in London on Saturday the 18th of March to commemorate the 3rd Anniversary of the start of the war. Before the start of the march, some of us Quakers will hold a vigil for Tom, the remaining hostages and all who have died in the war on the steps of St. Martins-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London at 11 am.
Also, Forest Hill Friends Peace Action holds a monthly Silent Vigil for peace in the middle-east and Iraq on the first Saturday of each month, something we have done since May 2004. We will be dedicating this April's vigil to the memory of Tom.
We send you our best wishes at this difficult time and also the promise that we continue to hold you all in the Light of the Holy Spirit.
Yours in Friendship,

Hock and Julia Lim,
on behalf of Forest Hill Friends Meeting.

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March 13, 2006 

Doug Smith, Clerk
Langley Hill Monthly Meeting
P.O. Box 118
McLean, VA 22101

Dear Doug Smith,

New York Yearly Meeting Friends extend their deepest sympathy upon the death of your beloved Friend and member, Tom Fox.  Since November, Friends throughout the Yearly Meeting have been holding Tom, his Christian Peacemaker Teams colleagues, and his captors in prayer, desiring the release and well-being of all.

Tom’s single-minded desire and commitment to live out the gospel message has been, and will continue to be, both inspiring and deeply challenging to us.  We know that such radical faithfulness is not for the faint of heart.  We commend and uphold you in your commitment to “honor Tom’s courage by ensuring that the work to which he was dedicated continues…”  We commit to join you in this endeavor, knowing that in this way Tom’s Light shines on.

We will continue to hold Tom’s family, Langley Hill Friends and Friends throughout Baltimore Yearly Meeting in our hearts and prayers in the weeks ahead. NYYM

In the Fellowship of Peace,

Linda B. Chidsey
Clerk, NYYM

Christopher Sammond
General Secretary, NYYM    

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FCNL released the following statement today:

The committee and staff of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) mourn the death of Tom Fox, a Quaker who was a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq. Tom was killed last week, some one hundred days after he was kidnapped in Iraq. Tom was a member of Langley Hill Friends Meeting in Virginia and Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We hold Tom, his family, his three companions who continue to be held hostage, his other associates in the CPT and all others affected by the violence in Iraq in the Light.

As a Quaker organization, we denounce the violence and brutality of war. Equally, we repudiate those who prey upon the civilians of Iraq. We appeal to those responsible for the kidnappings to release the remaining three peacemakers - Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Sooden - unharmed. We support and applaud the many, many individuals, and religious and political leaders who are working to heal the wounds of this war.

Read the Christian Peacemaker Team statement on the death of Tom Fox http://www.cpt.org/iraq/response/06-10-03statement.htm

Read the statement from Langley Hill Friends Meeting <http://www.quaker.org/langleyhill/Tomfoxpr.html>

 

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Adirondack Friends Meeting, New York Yearly Meeting sends their condolences to the family, and F/friends of Tom Fox. What a witness to the Light he lived and left. The sign outside our meetinghouse expresses our sorrow and our effort to join you in the sense of loss we all feel:
"GODSPEED,SHALOM, THANK YOU TOM FOX"

Regina Haag, for Adirondack Monthly Meeting

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Dear Friend,

Just to let you know that you were all, and Tom, and his family, in our thoughts and words at our own Meeting in Hammersmith, West London, on Sunday.

You are with us, with me still, as I write this.I shall never forget Tom Fox, and how he gave his life, for the rest of my own. He has Friends, and friends, who will never forget him, ever, everywhere.

Ian Flintoff

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Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5R 1C7. Email: cfsc@quaker.ca

Langley Hill Friends Meeting
P.O. Box 118
McLean, VA, USA 22101

March 14, 2006

Dear Friends,

We were greatly saddened to learn of the death of our Friend Tom Fox and we mourn with you. We extend our deepest condolences at this loss of a friend and family man.

The Christian Church has a history of martyrs who have died for their beliefs. Few are willing to die for peace. The possibilities of such dangers are spoken of in Christian Faith and Practice where we read that,  

Those who proclaim non-violence as a political technique often suggest that, if carried through with utter self-denial and self-control, it may force the hand of the aggressor.  We must be prepared for the possibility of it having no such positive effect and of it leading to outward defeat.  Whether successful or not it will bring suffering, martyrdom and death to many. (Christian Faith and Practice, London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 1960, #611) 

While we are aware that Tom knew and accepted the risks of the task taken on by the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), it was always our hope during this time of waiting that we would hear of his safe release.  Nevertheless, this kidnapping incident has resulted in great publicity and has given a high profile to the work of the CPT.  Tom’s capture and subsequent death has brought to the public an awareness of the concerns of the CPT and their reason for being.  

We give thanks for Tom’s life and send our sympathy to his family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 

In Friendship,

Svetlana S. MacDonald
Clerk
Canadian Friends Service Committee

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Greetings,
My name is Anne Miles Granwell. ( Miles originates from my grandfather's family in Crisfield Maryland, Somerset County, Roger Atwood Miles. The Miles go back in Maryland history to the 1600's). Spent much of my childhood in Easton, Maryland (Talbot County). My aunt was a Quaker who attended the Easton Friend's Meeting.
I asked to join Langley Hill because Tom Fox and what he stood for touched my heart and soul so.
These are some 'inspirational' notes on Mr. Fox which I saved and have been reflecting upon.

In Memorium Tom Fox, Christian Peacemaker activist, and, American hostage killed in Iraq. "Grace be unto you, and peace, from which is, and which was, and which is to come." Rev 1.4

"We must come from a spirit of love and compassion to help our leaders and many of our fellow citizens come to see that if we truly love God then we must make a drastic change of direction in the course of our country. The only way we will gain respect is by showing it to others, even those we disagree with. The only way we will gain love is by giving it to others, even those we disagree with. Love of country must always be subordinate to love of God. Love of country alone sets us on a course towards the disasters that have befallen other counties over the centuries. Charting a new course must begin now before it is too late." Tom Fox August 18, 2005

"The only "something in my life" I can hold onto is to do what little I can to bring about the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. " Tom Fox August 30, 2005

" I would pray that we all live each day, no matter where we are, "for the sake of our children." Tom Fox June 21, 2005

"James says that, " A person's anger cannot promote the justice of God." No matter if we succumb to anger, harden ourselves against anger or absorb anger; none of these ways can promote the justice of God. But does that mean we are not allowed to feel anger? James says that we need to be slow to anger and that first we need to listen carefully, next to put some words to our feelings and then finally express our anger. But clearly he does not say "never become angry". However he does say that our response to anger, no matter what form it takes, cannot promote God's justice. So then what do we do with our anger? James says we need to turn that anger over to God and then, "Quietly accept the messages planted in our hearts". Tom Fox March 1, 2005 (NOTE see James 1:19-22)

Mr. Fox's passing was not a 'casualty' it was statement of faith, chosen by Fox to bear a portion of building Peace on this Earth. Mr. Fox's life was a remarkable, significant and tremendous investment of love.

I, too, would like a little part in bringing the Peaceful Kingdom to this Earth.

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Dear Tom's Family,

I would like to express my sadness and extend my heartfelt sympathy to you upon the death of your father and family member. There is a tremendous amount of pain and suffering that occurs in this world from just natural causes (sickness, accidents, natural calamities, even death from old age). And then there is all the human-caused, intentional pain and suffering from wars and other injustice.

I just want to say that in the midst of our pain let us give thanks for Tom's courage, his inspired example and self-sacrifice given in a spirit of love and compassion to and for our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq. Far from adding to the pain and suffering of others he was trying to absorb and deflect and emasculate the violence being inflicted on a suffering people.

Will the Kingdom of God (justice and peace) spoken of in the New Testament come about through armies, weapons and killing? The human experience of thousands of years of warfare says no.

Tom, we feel the goodness, life and light radiating out from you. Thank you for feeling the goodness of this world and wanting to share it. Thanks for sharing the gifts and goodness of your life and seeing that the goodness of life can not be shared by taking it away from some in order to give it to others.

Yours,

Greg Haas

Bloomington Friends Meeting (Bloomington, Indiana) attender

 

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Dear Baltimore Yearly Meeting Friends,

"I am standing in the glory of the Light, said Fox."

At Langley Hill Friends Meeting, on Saturday night, gathered Friends heard a Young Friend share these words that had been on her heart since learning of Tom Fox's death in Iraq. I wish you could have been there to hear Young Friends and old Friends share how brightly Tom's Light shines in their hearts.

I wish you could have been there Saturday morning to see Langley Hill Friends stand firm in front of the microphones to share their profound messages of love and peace. I wish you could have been at Langley Hill to see and talk with the Muslim friends who came to share their grief, love, and support.

I wish we all could have met the elderly Palestinian man, a graduate of Ramallah Friends School, who drove from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to worship for the first time with Hopewell Centre Friends on Saturday night.
I wish we all could have heard the Young Friends of Hopewell Centre share with each other their memories of meeting Tom for the first time.

I wish we all could have been in each other's meetings on First Day morning when Friends who knew Tom, and Friends who barely knew Tom, and Friends who had never met Tom all shared how his life had inspired them.

I wish we could have heard, in services around the world, pastors and priests, imams and lay leaders, holding Tom and his peace witness in prayer.

I wish Tom's children could have heard Friends throughout Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and throughout the world, speak of their beloved father.

I wish Tom were here with us. I wish his children had their father's physical presence. I wish we all could have given Tom one last hug, heard his voice one last time, and asked him the questions we have in our hearts.

These wishes can't come true. But my hopes can, and you can help.

I hope that all Friends whose lives have been touched by Tom, and all who have heard or given messages, take time to write a letter, or send a memory, poem, or photograph to Hopewell Centre Young Friends who have begun a book for Tom's children. Please send your contributions to Anne Bacon, immediate past clerk of Hopewell Center and current Young Friends' teacher, at abacon@adelphia.net or to her home at 433 Marion St, Winchester, VA 22601.
If you have questions, call Anne at 540-662-5613.

I hope that we share our memories of Tom widely with one another, that we sit and listen to one another talk about Tom, and that we engage in the ministry of presence, of being there for one another.

I hope that we listen, learn from, and care for our Junior Young Friends and our Young Friends who knew Tom and who have much to share and much to grieve.

I hope we hug one another more.

I hope we learn to cultivate joy in the face of sadness. I know we are big enough vessels for Divine Love that we can hold joy and grief at the same time.

I hope we celebrate the Light of Christ that was evident in Tom's life.

I hope that we work to persuade the U.S. Congress, in continuation of Tom's work with Christian Peacemaker Teams, to approve legislation requiring the release of names and locations of all Iraqi detainees held by the U.S.
Expect to hear from Langley Hill Friends about this effort.

Finally, I hope we gather in silent vigil next Saturday, March 18, 2006, the third anniversary of the Iraq War, on the East Lawn of the Capitol, behind the banner that reads, "Seek Peace and Pursue It" (Psalm 34:14). Last year, on the second anniversary of the war, 500 people attended this silent vigil.

Begun by Langley Hill Friends three and a half years ago after 9/11, this weekly vigil now attracts people of many faiths. I hope many Baltimore Friends, and our friends, will stand together in our nation's capital this year, in memory of Tom, to witness to peace. More information about the vigil can be found at:
http://www.bym-rsf.org/quakers/news/peaceVigil0318.shtml

Some of you have heard my memory of Tom standing waist-deep, playing with the children, in the creek at Wilson College during Yearly Meeting. This past First Day, worshiping at Hopewell Centre Meeting where Tom lived between visits to Iraq, I heard a message from Tom. He waved cheerfully and said, "Come on in. The water's fine."

The Living Water, the River of Light, is there for us. Tom lived in the presence of the Divine . and the Divine Light shone through him. He surrendered his life to the guidance of Christ Jesus. We can do the same.
We can let go of fear. We can let go of material possessions. And we can experience the joy, the calm, the peace, and the integrity of living our testimonies fully.

"Open My Eyes, that I may see,
Glimpses of Truth thou hast for me,
Place in my hands the wonderful key,
That shall unclasp, and set me free."

Though Tom was captive, he was free. He had the key to freedom and he offers it to us. Let us open our hearts, open our ears, seek God's Will, wait for guidance, and remember,

"What shall I fear while yet thou dost lead?
Only for Light from thee I plead." *

In Reverence and Praise,
Lauri Perman
Presiding Clerk
Baltimore Yearly Meeting
of the Religious Society of Friends
 

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CPTnet
14 March 2006

IRAQ REFLECTION: "Tom, we will greatly miss you."

by Peggy Gish

"If I understand the message of God, we are here to take part in the creation of the peaceable Realm of God. And that is to love God with all our heart, our mind and our strength and to love our neighbors and enemies as we love God and ourselves," Allan Slater read during our memorial service
for Tom at a local church in Baghdad. We selected the reading from a
reflection Tom Fox had written days before he was kidnapped. At the front of the church was a large picture of Tom, a bouquet of fresh flowers and lit candles.

"Tom was very clear that if any harm came to him he did not want anyone to act out of revenge or ill will. He calls us to follow Jesus' example of loving and praying for those labeled enemy," I said as part of the beginning tribute to Tom. When it came to the part about Tom's captivity for over 100 days and his death, the words were harder to get out.

It was rewarding to see in the church the caring faces of so many Iraqis that had loved Tom. There were members of the congregation, some Christian neighbors, and Muslim friends and colleagues.

The assembled sang a version of the song, "Be Thou My Vision," that Tom had liked.

Maxine read excerpts from another of Tom's writing. He spoke of his struggle to not let rage take over, become numb, or turn away from the pain he encountered, but to learn compassion while staying with that pain.

On Friday, the day after we learned of Tom's death, we had to decide whether to go ahead with or cancel two meetings scheduled at our apartment. One was to link leaders from the Muslim Peacemakers Taskforce (MPT) in Najaf with a Sunni human rights organization in Baghdad. They were forming a coalition between Shi'a, Sunni, Christian, and Kurdish organizations to work to prevent sectarian violence. The second was to link MPTers with Palestinian Iraqis whose lives are under daily threat and are asking for accompaniment to travel to one of Iraq's borders. While emotionally it was very hard for us to host these meetings, it seemed important to do so.

The news of Tom's death hit us hard. We grieve--especially for Tom's family.
We also continue to celebrate Tom's life as we remember his words and his work to end all forms of violence. It does not take away the sorrow, but it helps remind us why we are here and why Tom kept returning to Iraq and was willing to give up his life.

Our memorial service tribute to Tom ended with the words we heard expressed by so many Iraqis in the past three days: "Tom, we will greatly miss you."
 

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Swarthmore Friends of Britain Yearly Meeting spoke lovingly of Tom Fox at our MM on Saturday March 14th. His death is a great loss to us all in the world family of Quakers and to all lovers of peace and justice.

From “Blessings” by Mary Craig

“ O’ Lord remember not only the men and women of good will but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we bought thanks to that suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which have grown out of this; and when they come to judgement, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness”

We hold Tom’s family and all his fellow worshippers in the Light.

In peace and friendship,
Marie Hay
Co-Clerk
(Swarthmore MM)

 

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CPTnet
16 March 2006

IRAQ: A letter from Cindy Sheehan to Tom Fox's family


13 March 2006

To the family of Tom Fox and to the Christian Peacemaker Teams:

My heart is breaking for Mr. Fox's family and for the world. This is a dark day for peace and justice. The loss of a man of the stature of Tom Fox and the loss of his voice for peace and reconciliation is a tragedy for our country which operates so often from a paradigm of violence. Every voice for peace is imperative and needed.

I am always told that I am brave, but what I do pales weakly in comparison with the actions of Tom Fox and the Christian Peacemakers who put their actual lives on the line everyday to make the world a better place and to save lives of our brothers and sisters who are in danger.

Jesus said: "To give up one's life for a friend, there is no greater love than this," (John 15:13). This is the same Gospel passage that was read at my son Casey's funeral. Jesus went on to say that it is even more sacred to give up your life for people you don't even know.

Tom lived his life out of his moral center and gave freely of his life to save lives of people he would probably never meet.

Now, the world is begging for the safe release of the other three Christian Peacemakers who are still held hostage. The way to peace is not violence.
The way to peace is only through peace and a respect for all life. The killing of Tom Fox does nothing to foster peace in the Middle East but can be used for a renewed call for the immediate withdrawal of all coalition troops from Iraq so the people of Iraq can rebuild their lives and their country. So the killing of innocents and our American troops can stop.

I did not want my son's death to be exploited to justify more deaths in Iraq and I am sure Tom and his family would agree. It is past time for the cycle of violence and killing to stop.

It is time for we peacemakers and peace activists from around the world to join our hands and our voices together to demand an end to the violence and killing.

Tom Fox and his selfless sacrifice for humanity make me proud to be a human being. I just wish such a holy act of sacrifice was not necessary or required of Tom.

Tom is at peace now, I pray for this peace for Tom's family and for our world.

In Peace and Solidarity,

Cindy Sheehan and Gold Star Families for Peace
 

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A peacemaker's last full measure

By Peggy Senger Parsons
UPI Religion & Spirituality
Published March 13, 2006

He was one of us - a Quaker - a member of the Religious Society of Friends.
I didn't know him personally, although I have known several people who have worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams. However, personal knowledge is not required for me to know this man. He embodied the testimonies we hold dear.
He was a man changed by timeless truth, and being changed himself, he changed the world around him. Not content to just know the truth, he acted upon it.

My favorite thing about Tom was what he did during the Vietnam War. Unable, by conscience, to fight, he did not head for Canada - he did not go to jail. Instead he joined the Marine Band, and played his clarinet for them for 20 years. If I have my time and place right, he would have been playing "Hail to the Chief" for a president he mightily disagreed with. Some would see this as a contradiction or a compromise. I see it as witness to a thing we Quakers hold to be true. You can be present to the people you most disagree with. This is what it means to live out the Sermon on the Mount; to walk the extra mile; to stay engaged with someone even if it means getting your other cheek slapped.

This is why Tom went to Iraq - to be present to people - to join them physically in their trouble. He lived and worked for two years living in a regular Baghdad neighborhood without guards or guns. I saw Anderson Cooper react on camera the other night, as he interviewed the clerk of Tom's Quaker meeting. "He lived outside the green zone without a guard!?" Yes, Anderson, he did. He taught peacemaking. He acted as an intermediary between incarcerated Iraqis and their families. He made Friends. He was a non-anxious presence to occupier, insurgent, and to the people caught in the middle.

"For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my own life - to take it back again. No one takes it away from me. On the contrary, I lay it down voluntarily. I have set it aside." (John 10:17-18)

Tom Fox's life was not taken from him. Tom Fox laid his life down a long time ago. He surrendered it into the hands of the Divine. Because he knew it was safe there, he was able to walk unbound by fear, letting the Light within him control and impel him forward into the work of peace. Tom's life was safe in the hands of God before he went to Baghdad, it was safe in Baghdad, it was safe in captivity and it is safe now. The loss is ours to bear. But it is a temporary, perceptual loss. For we have also put our lives into the hands of the Divine, and so our lives and his remain together.

Tom did not fail in his task. I am sure that many of the tears shed this weekend were Iraqi tears. I am sure that many of the prayers that have been spoken have been spoken in languages other than English. I am certain that Tom had some effect on his captors, even if we do not see it. I am certain that his life will inspire a hundred others to pick up his work around the world. Task Completed. Mission Accomplished. "Thee was faithful."

We pray and hope for Norman, Harmeet and James. We dedicate ourselves to their work.


About the author: Peggy Senger Parsons is a motorcycling Quaker preacher, counselor and free lance provocateur of grace. She is pastor of Freedom
Friends Church (http://www.freedomfriends.org/) in Salem, Oregon. ©
copyright 2006 by Peggy Senger Parsons. Published on UPI Religion & Spirituality Forum website.

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Dear Langley Friends Meeting,

I’m one of hundreds of people touched by the work of the Christian Peacemakers Team. One member, Sheila Provencher, is from our community in South Bend, Indiana. We’ve known of Tom through Sheila’s testimonials, emails and blogs.

I was so deeply saddened to hear of Tom’s death. He and the other kidnapped CPT members have been in my prayers for these many months. I can only imagine the deep sense of loss felt by your Meeting and community.

I subscribe to the Indian Country News, and in their obit pages, they use the language of "walking on" which I like very much. I imagine Tom walked on with the same grace and love that carried him through this life. He seemed to be among those few people who had achieved the ability to transcend the duality of right and wrong, and just be a loving, gentle presence with other wounded beings.

Please extend my deepest condolences to his family and particularly his children. I hope that the deep admiration and appreciation of their father’s sacrifice by so many people like myself can be some balm for their wounds. Even in death, he continues to heal, reminding us to love our captors and enemies, to hate only violence that continues to divide and distort the beauty of our world.

Peace,

Bonnie Bazata
1728 Wilber St.
South Bend, IN 46628

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Friends,

Our next-door neighbor Dorothy B. McCormick delivered this letter to us this morning:

March 12, 2006

To My Friends at the Langley Hill Meeting,

For 34 yers I have been fortunate to have the best neighbors at the Langley Hill Meeting that anyone could ask for. Kindness, understanding and a willingness to be cooperative in every way has been characteristic of all my relationships with the Langley Friends over the past 34 years......

I am writing now to express my sympathy to all friends at the Langley Hill Meeting on the death of Tom Fox who was kidnapped and slain on his peace mission to Iraq.

I was comforted, proud and inspired by Tom's statement, composed a year before his kidnapping, imploring that no "violent force" be used if he was taken captive and that they "forgive those who consider us their enemies".

Developing the ability to forgive is a gift the Friends have helped us all understand and appreciate. Tom Fox's words above illustrate the strength and peace shown by his sacrifice.

Thank you all for being such good friends and neighbors,

Dorothy McCormick
Founding Director, Retired
Country Day School

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March 15, 2006

Dear Friends at Langley Hill Meeting,

On behalf of the Pendle Hill community I write to express our grief at Tom Fox's death, our condolences to all of you who knew him, and our gratitude for his life-witness to the power of love in the world.
As we seek to live and grow here by this same power, we are re- awakened, challenged and changed by his witness.

May we be faithful, as Tom has been faithful, to the call of peace.

In Love's Light,

Ken Jacobsen
Interim Director
Pendle Hill

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Dear Friends,

It was a shock to hear of Tom Fox's death, and we of Grass Valley Monthly Meeting (Nevada City, CA) want to extend our deepest condolences to you and to offer our profound thanks for your support of his work. It was some comfort to know that today we were one of many congregations around the planet who held Tom Fox, his family and friends in the Light of our thoughts and prayers. We look across the peace-making communities of our nation and recognize that there are so many Tom Foxes out there -- everyday people taking real risks to bring about peace. The loss of Tom Fox reminds us of the hidden resources living and working in the most inconspicuous of places.

We are humbled by Tom Fox's witness for peace, and acknowledge that if there were as many people standing up for true peace as advocating for war, there would have been no occasion for Friend Fox to be in harm's way.

We mourn the loss of Tom Fox and of all those swept up in this and other wars and we pray for the safe return of his Christian Peacemaking Team. The example of Tom Fox and others like him speaks volumes to the question, "If war is not the answer, what is?" Please know that you are held deeply in the Light by many. Where one falls, may a thousand bloom.

Warmest regards,

Chamba Cooke, Clerk Grass Valley Monthly Meeting


Chamba Cooke, Clerk
Grass Valley Friends Meeting
13075 Woolman Lane
Nevada City, CA 95959-9700
(530) 477-9228
chamba@onemain.com

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Last in a Round of Bullets
by Lisa Schirch


Bullets travel in circles - one side fires, another side reciprocates. Tom Fox's body was the final resting place for a long line of bullets in Iraq.

American soldiers wield guns to support democracy and freedom. Saddam Hussein's forces used the power of the gun to terrorize civilians and threaten neighboring countries and the U.S. Those who killed Tom are part of the Iraqi insurgency and have their own reasons for wielding guns. If we understand their story we have a better chance of preventing more deaths.

The number of people joining the insurgency continues to grow in direct correlation with mounting anger toward the U.S. According to a recent poll, nearly half of Iraqis now support insurgency attacks on U.S. forces.
They are outraged at the ongoing destruction and occupation of their country. Iraqis lament the almost total abandonment of reconstruction, community development, and grassroots diplomacy efforts that would build the foundation for their security.

Insurgents target Americans because they are angry at the illegal detentions of innocent Iraqi people, the widespread torture in prisons in Iraq, and the use by American forces of a chemical weapon, white phosphorous, that killed and burned innocent families who were in the way in Fallujah. The insurgents are mainly Sunni Muslims who are the minority and fear being left out of the new political context.

Guns are a short term solution, whether in the hands of dictators, insurgents, or militaries. Saddam Hussein could not hold onto power through his brutal use of the gun. The Coalition Forces deposed him with guns, but military power cannot defeat the insurgency. Guns have no power to win the peace.

The more the U.S. has shifted its focus to fighting the insurgency rather than reconstructing Iraq, the more the insurgents have been able to recruit new, unemployed young men with little hope for the future to join them. When I was in Iraq in August, I heard many stories from Iraqi community development workers about the direct relationship between unemployment and insurgent recruitment. When there is little hope for this life, people begin imagining using the gun to gain martyrdom in preparation for the next life.

Each one who picks up a gun believes bullets will create their desired end. But instead of bending the will of their opponents, bullets only harden the other's resolve to keep fighting. No amount of overwhelming force can bring an end to the violence in Iraq. More guns will only make the situation worse.

History suggests that terrorism disappears in the absence of the fuel of economic and political desperation. The U.S. needs the courage and leadership to work in partnership with the international community to invest in long-term solutions of reconstruction, development, and grassroots diplomacy among the ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. We need to diligently support those undertaking grassroots diplomatic efforts across Iraq. Development and diplomatic tools can prevent and curb the growth of the insurgency.

Bullets ended Tom's life. But they have not crushed his vision for a just peace in Iraq nor the inspiration he offers the living to join in the cause of ending the war in Iraq. Tom was in Iraq to end the cycle of bullets among Saddam Hussein's forces, the Coalition Forces, and the insurgents. His body, his writings, and his work for peace all aimed for that end. There should be no bullets in reciprocation for those that rest in Tom. We need a different path out of Iraq.

Thousands of people like Tom Fox risk their lives everyday around the world to oppose dictators through nonviolent actions, to document human rights violations, and to build relationships across the lines of conflict.

There are many people willing to give their lives for war. There need to be more people who give their lives for peace.
 

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Dear Friends,

We attended a moving Monthly Meeting at Ambleside in Cumbria last Saturday. The Clerk was asked to send you all a message of sympathy following the tragic death of Tom Fox. I have attached the message herewith.

In peace and love,
Don Hay

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Swarthmore Friends of Britain Yearly Meeting spoke lovingly of Tom Fox at our MM on Saturday March 14th. His death is a great loss to us all in the world family of Quakers and to all lovers of peace and justice.

From "Blessings" by Mary Craig

" O' Lord remember not only the men and women of good will but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we bought thanks to that suffering - our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which have grown out of this; and when they come to judgement, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness"

We hold Tom's family and all his fellow worshippers in the Light.

In peace and friendship,
Marie Hay
Co-Clerk
(Swarthmore MM)

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Dear Langley Friends Meeting,


I’m one of hundreds of people touched by the work of the Christian Peacemakers Team. One member, Sheila Provencher, is from our community in South Bend, Indiana. We’ve known of Tom through Sheila’s testimonials, emails and blogs.

I was so deeply saddened to hear of Tom’s death. He and the other kidnapped CPT members have been in my prayers for these many months. I can only imagine the deep sense of loss felt by your Meeting and community.

I subscribe to the Indian Country News, and in their obit pages, they use the language of "walking on" which I like very much. I imagine Tom walked on with the same grace and love that carried him through this life. He seemed to be among those few people who had achieved the ability to transcend the duality of right and wrong, and just be a loving, gentle presence with other wounded beings.

Please extend my deepest condolences to his family and particularly his children. I hope that the deep admiration and appreciation of their father’s sacrifice by so many people like myself can be some balm for their wounds. Even in death, he continues to heal, reminding us to love our captors and enemies, to hate only violence that continues to divide and distort the beauty of our world.

Peace,

Bonnie Bazata
1728 Wilber St.
South Bend, IN 46628
 

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Dear Howard Fullerton,

I have been asked by Norwich and Lynn Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to convey to you our sadness at the death of Tom Fox. Tom was held in our thoughts and prayers at our Monthly Meeting in Norwich last Saturday. We also held in our thoughts Tom's family and friends, those who took his life and those who contributed to the creation of the situation in which Tom's life ended.

Yours in Friendship,
Peter Smith
Norwich and Lynn representative
Meeting for Sufferings,
Britain Yearly Meeting.

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To Friends of Langley Hills Friends Meeting

Dear Friends,

Colorado Springs Friends Meeting has been following with concern and love the events in Baghdad since the taking of four CPT members on November 26. We are deeply aware of these events and deeply affected by the martyrdom of Tom Fox especially because two of our members, our Clerk Bill Durland and his wife Genie, are members of CPT, have worked in Iraq and Palestine and met Tom when he was in training.

In addition, two of our members have fond memories of their past association with your meeting - Bill Durland in the early 70s and Jonathan McPhee in the summer of 2004. Our hearts go out to you.

We wish to extend our sympathy and condolences on the loss of Tom from your fellowship. We embrace his witness as an example for us all and we have faith that the seeds he planted in both life and death will bear fruits of peace and justice far beyond our ability to comprehend.

Please know that we are holding you all in the Light.

Bill and Genie Durland
Ann Grant Martin
Lisa Lister
Lisa Beckrich
Sarah Callbeck
Deb Chitwood, and Will and Christian Chitwood
Jonathan McPhee
Carlton Gamer
Sarah Callbeck
Molly Wingate
Linda Seger
Peter LeVar
 

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Dear Friends of Langley Hill Friends Meeting,

Friends Meeting of St. Petersburg (FL) wishes to convey deep sympathy to your Meeting and through you, to his family and the wider Quaker community, for the tragic death of Tom Fox. It is our hope that the cause to which he was so commited--that of peace through nonviolence--will be ultimately strengthened as the loss is so widely mourned.

It seems clear that Tom had role models which likely included Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tom Fox is added to our list of role models.

Why presume to say it differently? In Tom's own words, we offer, "We 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."

May we each and all learn from Tom Fox.

In the Light,
Lin Jorgenson, clerk
Friends Meeting of St. Petersburg
 

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The Death of Tom Fox and the Life of Christianity

Tom Fox went to Iraq to make peace and last week his murdered body was found in a garbage dump in Baghdad. On the surface of it, his mission would seem to be a sad failure. Jesus of Nazareth tried to teach all people to love God with all their hearts and to love their neighbors as they love themselves and after 2000 years more hateful wars have been launched in his name than in any other cause. On the surface, his teaching would not seem to have been very successful. But the whole truth is not always found on the surface of things. Mr. Fox's faith and works prove that Christ's mission is yet alive in the hearts of God's children and that despite millennia of perversion, there is hope yet to redeem Christianity.

Jesus' central message was love, but the example of his life and of his death tells us more than that. To love God and truth and mankind openly and fearlessly is to assume a great risk, and that risk can entail huge sacrifice. The Christian Peacemaker Teams of which Tom Fox was a member understand and accept that risk and are willing to make huge sacrifices. About 40 CPT members are now in Iraq working for peace, three are hostages under threat of death, one is dead. All have done what they believe God asked them to do: comfort the oppressed, speak out for justice, witness for the truth, forgive their enemies, trust not in weapons and earthly powers but in healing power of love.

Fox was a Quaker, a form of Christian who believes that Christ's teaching is an expression of God's love that is a gift to each and every individual person on earth and that gift requires no priests, ministers, churches, books, songs, rituals, oaths, creeds, donations or militias to deliver it. It is a gift that does not require that you know Jesus' name, read "his" book, or join "his" religion. All Jesus asks is that you love God with all your heart and love your neighbors as you love yourself. For this reason Tom Fox was in Iraq helping to organize Muslim Peacemaker Teams without any thought of converting them to Christians, because that would be merely changing the name of God while God's character and His Will does not change. When they were kidnapped, a great number of voices around the world rose in chorus to ask for their release, loudest and most numerous of those voices were Muslim voices begging, demanding the freedom of these Christian men. A cynical political posture? A proof that the CPT are tools of radical Islam? No, just proof of the effect of their love even in a violent, hate filled world: the effect of peacemaking. If one Palestinian radical, if one U. S. Marine, resists his leaders' call to violence and refuses to pull the trigger because of Tom's example, that is a victory for God and for Tom Fox.

Pacifists have always been exposed to the accusation that they are people who stay home in safety and condemn war while others go off and face mortal danger to protect the freedom and wellbeing of pacifists.

If this is true, and it very often is, then pacifists cannot succeed in ending war. Only by assuming the same risks as soldiers in the same numbers as soldiers can the non-violent hope to demonstrate an alternative to warfare. Like the Christian Peacemakers, tens of thousands of others have gone to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones to try to improve this world despite danger to themselves. The courage and sacrifice of soldiers is very real, but the hope of that bravery and the fruit of that sacrifice is cheated because they have been sent with the wrong tools in their hands. The tools of war are bombs, bullets and lies. If the objective of this war were really to free Iraqis, rebuild their country, improve their future, we would have to lay aside the tools of war because the first act of love is show trust and trust implies vulnerability. The invulnerable cannot love any more than the uncrucified can save.

In Iraq our soldiers live in fear and want more armor, often shooting anyone who approaches them. At home our American people live in fear and seek anxiously for security; unwilling to accept any risk ,we seem to crave invulnerability, reluctant to make any sacrifice. In short we are become a nation of Anti-Christs.

Religion has always betrayed God, and no less so now than in the time of Jesus. False Christians now lead us in a sham crusade against false Muslims who wage a fraudulent holy war in return. They understand nobody's religion, least of all their own, God is ever on their lips but blood is on their hands.

Fox's destiny was not to change history as Jesus did or challenge an empire like Gandhi or lead a people out of oppression like Martin Luther King. Mr. Fox was a small voice, usually drowned out by the blaring noise of politicians, talk-show hosts and televangelists, a small voice speaking the truth and backing up his words with actions.
Like these other men and like many men and women throughout time, he was killed by those who rejected his message of love. We may never know what passed between him and his captors and killers at the end, but it is reasonable to think that a man who stopped Israeli bulldozers with his body would continue his ministry to the end. He was a lucky man, that God so loved and blessed him.

Thanks to Tom Fox, I am no longer ashamed to call myself a American and a Christian, but I am ashamed I have risked so little for God and my fellow man.

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Dear Friends,
 
In recent weeks we were shaken at the news of Tom Fox’s death.  Words seem inadequate to express the grief and anguish we feel in this loss.  We hold you in the Light as you traverse this difficult passage and believe that Tom’s wisdom and Light will bring us all to a greater understanding of God’s will. 
 
From what has been written, it seems clear that Tom found his calling as he walked with and cared for those who surrounded him.  As we grieve our loss we also acknowledge his footsteps reverberating through our lives as we hear of his faith, his commitment to those he served, and his belief in the need to physically walk with those dispossessed, forgotten, souls of the world.  Tom’s life and work are a powerful example to us of the life we, as people of faith, are called to as we witness those who are suffering around us.  May the prophetic example of Tom’s life and sacrifice find wings and be an example to young and old alike of the potential for the grace of God that can be present in our actions and our lives.  May we all be called to a higher virtue and to seek greater faithfulness to God’s leadings as we witness Tom and the life he led. 
 
Please know that you are not alone in grieving Tom’s death but that waves of grief have spread from Baghdad around the world touching the hearts of millions.  Please accept our heartfelt sympathy and sincerest hope that Tom’s life can serve as an example to new generations of peace workers, offering courage and strength to those following God’s call, in service to those most needy among us.
 
We share in the relief and joy in the release of Jim Loney, Harmeet Sooden and Norman Kember and give thanks for their rescue. We continue to hold you and the families in the Light. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
 
 
 
                                                                                Yours in the Light,
                                                                                on behalf of
                                                                                Friends Peace Teams
                                                                                Anna Sandidge, Coordinator

 

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March 21, 2006

Tom Fox, peace activist, was born on July 7, 1951. His body was found on March 9, 2006, aged 54.

Tom Fox was turned into a peace activist by the events of September 11, 2001. Fox, who was born in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1951 and was running a wholesale grocers in Washington when the suicide bombers struck, had been a Quaker since his youth and spent the next 20 months deeply contemplating how he should react to the attacks. In August 2004 he gave up his job to become a full-time worker for the Toronto-based Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Fox specifically asked to be sent to Iraq and, after undergoing training, arrived in Baghdad in late September 2004. He lived and worked with other CPT activists, taking statements about the abuse of Iraqi detainees by coalition soldiers, meeting Sunni and Shia leaders, working with refugees and children in schools, helping to set up a Muslim peacemaker team and sending back reports on the situation in Iraq to people in the West, especially North America.

A frequent visitor to the PCT volunteers’ flat was Margaret Hassan, an British-born Muslim charity worker who had lived in Baghdad for 25 years. A month after Fox arrived, she was kidnapped and is presumed to have been murdered.

In October 2005 Fox, along with his British colleague Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, was seized by gunmen. Over the next few months the kidnappers released a series of videos showing the hostages and accusing them of being spies.

There were widespread appeals for their release, including from a terrorism suspect held in a British jail and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. However, hopes for the men’s survival lessened as the months went on and on March 7, 2006, a video was broadcast showing three of the hostages but not Fox. Two days later his body was found in a blanket dumped near a road in western Baghdad. He had been shot and possibly beaten.

 

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Dear Friends,

At our Meeting for Business on March 12, Haverford Monthly Meeting approved the minute below in regard to the tragic death of Tom Fox. Since she is out of the country currently, the Clerk of our Meeting, Martha Sharples, asked me to send the minute to your Meeting.

The Meeting approved a Minute of Condolence to Langley Meeting for Tom Fox, who was killed in Iraq. We share in their deep sense of loss of Tom Fox and we celebrate his life and what he was trying to do in Iraq. Peacemaking is costly, and it is the tradition of Friends to bear the price of nonviolent advocacy. We thank Tom for bringing the light of peace to troubled places, and we hold you in the light.

In Peace,
Richard Siebels
 

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Dear Friends

I have just returned home from our meeting's memorial service for Tom Fox. Sixteen Friends sat in expectant silence this evening. Your epistle and minute asking us to help continue Tom's work was read and through the following hour or so of the meeting Friends rose and spoke on the need for Friends everywhere to follow their leadings and to work for peace even in small ways. One recounted her vigil on March 17, 2006. All left the meeting with copies of the epistle and will write letters. Your minute will be read during our announcements at next firstday's meeting for worship. Thank you for giving us a way to continue Tom's work for peace and justice.

Jim Orben
Lehigh Valley Friends Meeting
PO Box 20827
Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-0827

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Dear Friends of Langley Hill,

The members of Richland Friends Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Quakertown, Pennsylvania mourn the loss of  Friend Tom Fox. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.  Even as we give thanks for the safe release of the other Christian Peacemaker Team workers, we celebrate the dedication and life of service of Tom. His work and he are an inspiration and a lesson in living and giving in Friends tradition.

Holding you in the Light,
Linda Cooper, Clerk, for Richland Friends Meeting
 

 

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Messages of Support received after Tom was taken hostage:


Langley Hill Appeal to the People Holding Tom Fox and the other Members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT)


Tom Fox, now being held captive in Iraq, is a beloved and longstanding member of our Quaker worship community. One of our strongly held beliefs is that if we listen, God can guide our lives. Before Tom went to Iraq, we considered with him his sense that he was being inspired by God to do what he could to relieve the suffering of individual Iraqis and to serve peace and justice. We were aware of the danger he faced. He went with our support and continues to have our support and love. We know Tom very well and can affirm that he is neither a spy nor an evangelist.

The tenets of our Quaker faith ask us to work for peace in the world and to respect that of God in everyone. That is what led Tom to go to Iraq. We believe strongly in justice, mercy, and peace. We opposed this war as we oppose all wars. We believe in a God that is compassionate and merciful, as do the people of Iraq.

We ask you as an act of justice, mercy, and devotion to release Tom and the other Christian Peacemaker Team members so that they can continue their work on behalf of those who suffer.

Releasing the captives, so that they can continue to serve the Iraqi people, would be an act of dignity and courage.

Signed,

Langley Hill Monthly Meeting
Religious Society of Friends
Doug Smith, Clerk

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Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq Statement of Conviction

October 7, 2004

We, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq, are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face. However, we are convinced that at this time that the risks, while significant, do not outweigh our purpose in remaining.

Many Iraqi friends and human rights workers have welcomed us as a non-violent, independent presence. During the previous year they asked us to tell their stories, since they could not easily be heard, nor could most flee to a safer country. We continue to act as a resource to connect citizens of Iraq with human rights organizations, both local and international...

As a peacemaking team we need to cross boundaries, help soldiers and other armed actors be humane, and invite them to refuse unjust orders. We need to help preserve what is human in all of us and so offer glimpses of hope in a dark time.
We reject kidnapping and hostage-taking wholesale. If any of us are taken hostage,... CPT will attempt to communicate with the hostage-takers or their sponsors and work against journalists' inclination to vilify and demonize the offenders. We will try to understand the motives for these actions, and to articulate them, while maintaining a firm stance that such actions are wrong. If appropriate, CPT will work with diplomatic officials from our representative governments to avoid a violent outcome.

We reject the use of violent force to save our lives should we be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. We also 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.
We 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.

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Statement from Tom Fox's daughter Kassie Fox

I am the daughter of Tom Fox. My father made a choice to travel to Iraq and listen to those who are not heard. He meets with families who are missing loved ones. He has spent most of his time in Iraq trying to free detainees. I did not want my father to go to a country where his American citizenship could potentially overshadow his peaceful reasons for being there. But this is who my father is. He is deeply committed to a peaceful resolution to these issues. He is there because the Iraqi people are not being heard and are, so often, not supported. I feel as if this has to be a mistake that he has been taken. He is there only shed light on the experiences of each Iraqi he meets. He is there to help. Peacefully, respectfully and completely.

He tells me of how well he has been welcomed by the families he has met. The graciousness, mercy and compassion he has experienced in the country is something he often mentions when we speak. Neighbors come to visit and bring food and kindness. He is moved by the warmth of the people he has met.

In pictures, in video, my dad looks so tired right now. So very tired. I do not care to imagine. I struggle to even find the space to experience my own emotions.

I want to be able to communicate just how loved my father is, but more than that, I just want to hug him. I want to find a way to give him back the strength he has given me.

I want to show him how much the peace in his heart has inspired me and helped me find my way in life.

My dad has always been a wanderer. He believes that the real purpose of travel is to experience environments different than our own. When my brother and I were little, our family would visit a different city every year. We took trains or buses and once there, traveled by foot as often as possible. We tried new food and went to museums. We got lost on purpose so that we were able to learn a new way back. As children, my brother and I did not always see the value in this, but my father was teaching us to see opportunity in every step, planned or otherwise. My dad loves the outdoors - when we travel as a family, we always visit the parks; on weekends he takes us hiking in the Appalachian mountains. Each time my father returns from Iraq, he visits the same mountain in Virginia. This is his way to center himself and rejuvenate, to find the calm and peace that he hopes to impart to others.

My dad wasn't a Marine, he was a musician. He politely refuses military discounts. He practiced his clarinet every day and once my brother and I began to play instruments, he encouraged us to do the same. He still carries with him the rhythm of that life. He still enjoys the music of language. As he travels, he brings a recorder with him so that he can always express the music that is in his heart.

But above all else, my father is a listener. Even when no one is speaking. He values the honesty of silence. And when he speaks, there is respect and kindness in his voice, a strength that stands in quiet testimony to the life he has chosen to lead.

I love my father. I am so thankful to have been raised by such a loving, honest, gentle man who continues to teach me the importance of living by my principles.

He is my support and my guide. I need him safe and with me again.

I will continue to hold him and everyone that he is with in the Light and pray for a peaceful resolution. Please let him go. I need him home.

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Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

17715 Meeting House Road
Sandy Spring MD, 20861 USA

December 4, 2005

To Friends/friends Everywhere:

Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is very distressed that four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams are being held captive in Iraq. One of these is Tom Fox, a very dear Friend who has been a shining light in our Quaker community, especially in bringing an understanding of peace to our young Friends. We know of Tom Fox’s deep commitment to being a peacemaker in all his acts, and know that he is in Iraq to bring this witness, not for any purpose that would be in any way harmful to any other people.

This is the motto on Tom’s website “Waiting in the Light”: "Be patterns, be examples in every country, place, or nation that you visit, so that your bearing and life might communicate with all people. Then you'll happily walk across the earth to evoke that of God in everybody. So that you will be seen as a blessing in their eyes and you will receive a blessing from that of God within them." George Fox, founder of Quakerism.

We have members of our Meeting who have also done work with CPT and we are convinced of this organization’s commitment to peacemaking. We know that CPT seeks to reduce violence and to advocate on behalf of the human rights of all Iraqis. They do so in all of their projects as well--in Colombia, Palestine, Canada, and the Mexico/USA Borderland. They work for peace in Iraq and for an end to the Occupation of Iraq.

We ask that Tom Fox (USA), Norman Kember (UK), James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada) be released so they can continue to be a presence of peace in the world, which so desperately needs peace at this time. We ask that this be done without harm to either these men or those who now hold them.

This statement was approved by Sandy Spring Friends Meeting in a Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business on December 4, 2005.

Yours in faith,

Rosalind T. Zuses
Presiding Clerk of Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting

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Northern Virginia Women’s Interfaith Fellowship

To: My Muslim and Interfaith Community brothers and sisters

From: Judy Agard, a Quaker and member of the Northern Virginia Women’s Interfaith Fellowship

Tom Fox, who was kidnapped in Iraq where he was serving as a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team, is a member of the Langley Hill Friends (Quakers) Meeting in McLean, Virginia, and a long-time friend.

Tom was kidnapped by a group that called themselves the Swords of Righteousness on November 26th when he and the other Christian Peacemaker Team members were on their way to a meeting with a Muslim leader to represent families of imprisoned Iraqis.

I am praying for his safe return and for the return of the other members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq who were taken. I am also asking for your help in contacting Muslims and Arabs in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries who might be helpful in securing Tom’s release and the release of the other Peacemaker members.

I have prepared this letter so that you can understand what kind of person Tom was and the work that he was doing with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq and so that you can be assured that he was not a spy.

Tom Fox has been a Quaker for almost 25 years, and is committed to actively working for peace because as he said: “Too many are willing to die for war and too few are willing to die for peace.”

Tom is the father of two college-age children. His daughter has written that she is “so thankful to have been raised by a loving, honest, gentle man who continues to teach me the importance of living by my principles. His belief that peaceful resolutions can be found to every conflict has been tested time and again, but he remains committed to that ideal, heart and soul.”

For 20 years he was a clarinetist with the U.S. Marine band, a position that provided him an alternative to being drafted; however he never received any military training and never even learned how to use a weapon. When he retired from the U.S. Marine band, he worked in grocery store management until he decided to join the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Christian Peacemaker Teams, a non-governmental organization founded in 1986, has had a Peacemaker Team active in Iraq since 2002. The Iraq Team focuses on documenting and focusing public attention on detainee abuses, connecting citizens of Iraq to local and international human rights organizations and establishing communication and joint projects with other Muslim peace organizations. The Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq was among the first to document and expose the abuses at Abu Graib and other U.S. operated prisons and detention centers in Iraq. Christian Peacemaker Teams hold sincere and profound religious and spiritual beliefs but are not missionaries and do not proselytize. You can learn more about the organization from their Website www.cpt.org.

Tom’s work with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq involved meeting with Iraqi individuals and families to document the stories of their lives so that everyone would learn of the horrible effects of war on ordinary Iraqi civilians. He also was involved in the development of Muslim Peacemaker Teams bringing together both Shia and Sunni Muslims to work for peace and justice. One joint project conducted by the Muslim Peacemaker Team and the Christian Peacemaker Team was to assist in the cleanup of Fallujah. Tom reported on his work and his experiences in an on-line blog http://waitinginthelight.blogspot.com/

Tom was aware of the danger he faced. In an e-mail he wrote in October, 2004, he said that he was aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face but he was convinced that the risks, while significant, did not outweigh his purpose in remaining. He rejected the use of violent force to save his life should he be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. And he rejected the use of violent retribution in favor of restorative justice in the arrest and trial of anyone who harmed him.

I hope you will hold Tom and the other Peacemaker Team Members in your thoughts and prayers, as well as those working to free them and those who are holding them, and all affected by this situation. And I ask that you do whatever is practical and feasible for you to affect a peaceful and positive resolution to this situation.

If you wish further information you may contact Christian Peacemaker Teams at 416-423-5525 or me, Judy Agard, at 703-938-5513 or 703-903-2502. In addition to the Websites mentioned in my letter, the media and the press have had news stories about the Peacemaker Teams and Tom Fox. Particularly helpful is the Washington Post article of December 1, 2005.

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Janis D. Shields, American Friends Service Committee

(215) 241-7060 After Hours: (302) 545-6596

Rick McDowell, Friends Committee on National Legislation

(202) 957-6886

 

THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE AND FRIENDS COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL LEGISLATION APPEAL FOR THE RELEASE

OF CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAM MEMBERS HELD CAPTIVE

Quaker Groups Express Concern Over Kidnapped Peacemakers

 

Philadelphia December 2 The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the committee and staff members of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) are deeply concerned for the four kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq and we appeal to the captors for their safe return.  The four, Tom Fox (USA), Norman Kember (UK), James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada), are actively engaged in the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams and have publicly opposed the U.S. led invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

 

The Christian Peacemaker Teams, a non-governmental organization, arrived in Iraq in 2002 in opposition to the coming war and continues to work for the rights of Iraqi prisoners who have been illegally detained by U.S. occupation forces.  The organization, founded in 1986, was amongst the first to document and expose the abuses at Abu Graib and other U.S. operated prisons and detention centers in Iraq. 

 

The Christian Peacemaker Teams is one of the few remaining international humanitarian organizations working in Iraq.  Their presence maintains a critical, nonviolent public witness to the violence and uncertainty which persists in the country.  Team members knowingly work at great risk to their own health and security.  Christian Peacemaker Teams hold religious beliefs but are not missionaries and do not proselytize.

 

The kidnappings have caused enormous suffering and pain to the captives, their families, associates, and friends.  We appeal to those responsible for the kidnappings to release all four peacemakers unharmed.   

 

― More ―

 

 

 APPEAL FOR RELEASE OF CPT MEMBERS, page two

 

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a non-partisan Quaker lobby in the public interest, opposed the invasion of Iraq.  FCNL believes there is no military solution to the conflict in Iraq.  More troops, more guns, and more killing will not bring about peace.  FCNL works in the United States for an end to the U.S. occupation and the withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and bases. 

 

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is an international social justice organization and a co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize, which honored Quakers’ historic work to relieve the suffering of war. Since 1917, AFSC has aided millions of people around the world through its peace, economic development, and human rights programs. AFSC was a leader in the movements to end the Vietnam War and to dismantle apartheid in South Africa and remains a leader in international movements for peace and justice.

 

# # #

 

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.


Williamsburg Friends Meeting Minute

Williamsburg Friends join Friends and other lovers of peace in our concern for Tom Fox and his colleagues on the Christian Peacemaker Team who are held hostage in Iraq. We hold them in the Light, as well as their families, other peacemakers, and their captors. We pray that Tom and his colleagues may be release unharmed to continue their work for peace and justice.

Thayer Cory, Co-Clerk

Minuted in Meeting for Business on 11 Twelfth Month 2005
Williamsburg, Virginia

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Saint Louis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Statement in Support of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq


On November 26, 2005, Tom Fox, a US-born Quaker from Virginia, was taken captive in Iraq with his three colleagues from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Norman Kember of England and Canadians Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney. The four came to Iraq to document human rights abuses by both US and Iraqi forces, to provide training in nonviolent intervention, and to provide independent reports on the current situation in Iraq.

To those unfamiliar with the history of Quaker witnesses for peace, our Friends' presence in Iraq might seem foolish, or even suspicious. But their presence in Iraq is part of a tradition of direct peacemaking that our Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers) has engaged in since our founding in the 17th century.

We actively worked to avert the US invasion of Iraq, as we have always repudiated the use of war as a means of resolving disputes. We understand that this war has inflicted suffering on innocent victims, that it has devastated the infrastructure on which the civilian population depends, and that it has poisoned the environment, littering landmines, depleted uranium and other hazards which will remain long after US forces have left. We understand that no people can be free under a foreign occupation. Moreover, the war and occupation have left psychological scars, both on those who have experienced suffering and on those who have inflicted it. Our Friends saw it as their calling to try and heal those scars, to rebuild relationships, and to remind all whom they encountered in Iraq of our common humanity.

To you who have taken our Friends captive, we say that you are not our enemies. We know that we must respond to your action by redoubling our efforts for finding peace, for ending torture and unjust imprisonment, and for taking responsibility for the destruction that this war and occupation have caused. We are confident that by now you have found that the only weapon these four carry with them is love. We ask you to take their weapon and employ it in your struggle. We ask you for their safety, and their release back to their homes and families.

To those of you who, like us, are praying for the safe release of these four peacemakers, we say let us take their actions as a guide. In whatever ways we are able, let us risk ourselves for peace. Let us root out violence in every facet of our lives, in our family relationships, our communities' response to crime, our stewardship of the earth, and our foreign policies. Let us eradicate prejudice and bigotry, economic inequality, resource domination and other injustices lest they plant the seeds for future conflicts. Let us, above all, answer to that of God in every person.

And to Tom, Norman, Harmeet and James, we thank you for your courage and integrity. We are holding you in the Light.

Signed this 4th day, 12th month
Saint Louis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Saint Louis, Missouri

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Oak Park Monthly Meeting

To the Captors of the Christian Peacemakers Team:

We are writing as members of a Quaker Meeting in Oak Park, Illinois, USA. We ask you as fellow children of God why you have kidnapped these four men who have come to your country in peace, in friendliness, and not as representatives of any government. We support the Christian Peacemakers Teams and their project of making peace while advocating for human dignity for all.

Our meeting has a relationship with Christian Peacemakers Teams: we have supported them monetarily, we have had members of their group come to speak to us concerning peace in the Middle East, and we know Quakers who are or have been Christian Peacemakers. As Quakers who believe in non-violence, and the peaceful resolution of conflict; who believe that there is “that of God in every person;” who resist the idea that foreign armies have the right to invade a people’s homeland­for whatever reason­we believe you have captured people who meant you no harm. These men are not spies, nor anti-Iraq, nor anti-Islam; rather they came among your people in the spirit of God’s love, with the idea of creating understanding, of building bridges, and of helping bring peace to your land. We ask you to release them.

In peace,

Oak Park Monthly Meeting
Religious Society of Friends
Oak Park, Illinois

Minuted in Meeting for Business
on 11 Twelth Month 2005

Geoff Plank and Wil Rutt, Co-clerks

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Press Release from Hopewell Centre Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends:

                                   Tuesday, November 29, 2005 (8:30PM)

 

Members of Hopewell Centre Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), are deeply saddened by the abduction of the four Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) workers in Iraq.  One of these workers, Tom Fox, is well-known and loved by our Meeting.  He is a kind and gentle man who is dedicated to helping the people of Iraq, particularly those who are oppressed. 

   

ir purpose in traveling to Iraq was not to espouse the Christian faith but to build bridges for a peaceful democracy and to be a voice for those who couldn’t speakAs a member of  CPT, Tom supported their guiding principles that hostage-taking was wrong, but most importantly their captors were not to be vilified or demonized. CPT Teams understand their commitment to peace making in a such a location is dangerous but their goals are still very clear – peace belongs to all.

 

Our Meeting is certainly holding Tom, as well as the other hostages, their captors and all people affected by these kidnappings, In the Light of God’s Love and we pray for a non-violent resolution to this situation.  

 

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Message of Support from Wellesley, Massachusetts Friends Meeting

Friends,

We met on December 11th to find voice for our community's support for the captives in Iraq and for their on-going work and developed the following minute. We continue to pray for these brave peacemakers and for all who are in danger as the result of conflict.

Wellesley Friends Meeting holds Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney, and Harmeet Singh Sooden in the Light and we rejoice and we celebrate their work. These peacemakers are members of a Christian Peacemakers Team working in Iraq to inform Iraqi, American, British, and people from all countries of the senselessness and inhumanity of conflict. These men remind us that nonviolence involves effort and involves risk, but that it is the only way for the human race to free itself of fear and so to come closer to God.

We pray that their work will help all who use terror or force of arms of any kind to see the pain, the waste, and the uselessness of war.

We hold their captors in the Light and pray that they will listen to that of God within themselves and so find the way open to release these men to continue their work of reconciliation and love.

In the Light,

Patricia Shotwell, Clerk
John Brock, Recording Clerk

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NEWS From Baltimore Yearly Meeting                                         

November 30, 2005

QUAKERS PRAY FOR MISSING FRIEND

Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) affirms that one of our members, Tom Fox, of Langley Hill Monthly Meeting is one of four Christian Peacemaker Team workers missing in Iraq.  Our prayers and hearts are with him and his colleagues.  Tom Fox has been involved with Christian Peacemaker Teams for two years and led a workshop at our annual meeting about his experiences in Iraq.

Friends throughout the Yearly Meeting are holding Tom, as well as the others missing, those working to free them, those who are holding them, and all affected by this situation, in the Light of God’s Love.  We pray for a peaceful resolution to this situation.

Tom Fox has been active in Baltimore Yearly Meeting.  Fox served as Interim Youth Secretary for a year, and taught in the youth programs at the annual meeting for several years.  He was a volunteer cook at the summer camping program.  He is a well-known and beloved member of our Yearly Meeting.

Tom Fox is one of several members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting who have participated in activities of Christian Peacemaker Teams.  Baltimore Yearly Meeting is formally affiliated with the Christian Peacemaker Teams through the broader Religious Society of Friends.  For further information about Christian Peacemaker Teams, see http://www.cpt.org

Baltimore Yearly Meeting has 4600 members in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  It has 40 local meetings (congregations).

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All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)

46903 Sugarland Rd, Sterling, VA 20164
www.adamscenter.org


For Immediate Release

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and The Langley Hill Friends Meeting (Quaker Church that Tom Fox attended) will hold an Interfaith Vigil at the ADAMS Center on Friday Dec 9, 2005 at 5:30pm to 6:30pm. The Interfaith Gathering will pray and ask for the safe release of Tom Fox and all other hostages in Iraq. They will pray for PEACE in the region.

CONTACT: Mr. Mukit Hossain(703-507-7223) and Mr. Shirin Elkoshairi - 571-217-9286

WHEN: Friday Dec 9, 2005 5:30pm to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: The ADAMS Center 46903 Sugarland Drive, Sterling, VA 20164
One mile south of Route 7, one block west of the intersection of Dranesville Rd and Sugarland. (From Dulles toll Road, take exit 11(Fairfax County Parkway North), take a left on Wiehle Ave, take a right on
Dranesville Rd, take a left on Sugarland Road, after one block, take a left into the parking lot.)

WHAT: The Muslim and Christian leaders will pray and ask for the safe release of Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., and all other hostages in Iraq. We pray and ask for the safe return of Tom and all the Hostages taken in Iraq. We pray for Peace in the region. Tom has been active in Virginia's Quaker community (Langley Hill Friends Meeting) and is one of four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) kidnapped last Saturday by a group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. The kidnappers have threatened to kill the hostages unless all prisoners in U.S. and Iraqi detention centers are released.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is a violence-reduction initiative with roots in the Historic Peace Churches (Mennonites, Brethren, Quakers) with participation from a broad range of Christian denominations and groups. CPT offers an organized, nonviolent alternative to war and other forms of lethal inter-group conflict. CPT provides organizational support to persons committed to faith-based nonviolent alternatives in situations where lethal conflict is an immediate reality or is supported by public policy.


All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and Langley Hill Friends Meeting have a very close friendship. They meet regularly for Interfaith meetings and community service projects. The Langley Hill Friends Meeting Women’s group offered to help Muslim Women wearing scarves since they were targets of Hate Crimes. Langley Hill Friends Meeting sent cards and flowers after ADAMS was vandalized. Langley Hill Friends Meeting coordinated an overnight vigil on 9/11/2004 to keep ADAMS safe from the yearly vandalism against ADAMS Mosque that happened on 9/12/2001, 9/11/2002, ad 9/11/2003. ADAMS truly appreciates the friendship and efforts of Langley Hill Friends Meeting.


ADAMS: All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS) is one of the largest Muslim communities/mosques in the DC Metro Area and in the United States. ADAMS is a non profit 501c(3) Organization. ADAMS serves over 5000 families and has 7 branches(Sterling/Herndon, Tysons Corner, Fairfax, Reston, Leesburg, Ashburn, and South Riding) in Northern Virginia. ADAMS Center is governed by a 13-member democratically elected board of trustees comprising of men and women. ADAMS engages in regular interfaith, government relations, social services, and community service. ADAMS has one of the largest Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout programs in the DC Metro area.

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Burnt Church prays for hostages in Iraq

Last updated Dec 13 2005 09:24 AM AST CBC News
First Nations people in a rural New Brunswick community are praying for the lives of four men taken hostage halfway around the world.
Burnt Church band members say hostage James Loney, 41, and his Christian Peacemaker Team helped them defuse tensions during a fishing dispute with the federal government five years ago.
Millie Augustine

Millie Augustine credits Loney with helping the community come to a peaceful resolution. "There was a lot of violence involved. If it wasn't for the Christian Peacemaker Team being there, the frustration would have built up more and I think there would have been a lot more violence and deaths that may have occurred."

Loney and three others were kidnapped off a Baghdad street on Nov. 26. They are all members of the human-rights organization Christian Peacemaker Teams who went to Iraq to investigate allegations of abuses of Iraqi detainees.

INDEPTH: Two Canadians held hostage in Iraq A group called the Swords of Righteousness has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and threatened to kill the four unless the United States government released all Iraqi prisoners by Dec. 8. That deadline has passed and the fate of the hostages is unknown.

The Christian Peacemaker Team went to Burnt Church, when tensions escalated between native and non-native fishermen and DFO fisheries officers. At issue were unclear rules about the native lobster fishery in Miramichi Bay. There was gunfire, hostility and fear.

The CPT workers kept an eye on the water, 24 hours a day. They slept in tents and talked to people on both sides of the dispute, bringing a little calm to a hostile situation.

Millie Augustine says Loney had a special way with the elders. "Normally these elders wouldn't say much to someone, especially a non-native coming into the community. But they just wanted to go and tell him their whole life story and know they're going to listen. And listen from his heart."

Lloyd Augustine says Loney and his team brought something his people so desperately needed at that time. "Hope. That there was somebody out there that was more than willing to stand beside them and help them out."

At a time when violence seemed the only option left, fisherman Leo Bartibog says the CPT showed them that pacifism could work. "What they stand for is peace, and they certainly proved that," he said.

People here are holding prayer circles for Loney and the other hostages, asking the Creator to keep him safe. "He helped me and he helped my people, it's my turn to help him now," said Millie Augustine. "I don't know how but I'm going to give everything I can to help this man, like he helped us."

Augustine says whatever happens in Iraq, Loney and his efforts at Burnt Church will live on.
 

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Statement of Support for Christian Peacemaker Teams from Witness for Peace

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) confirmed on 29 November that four human rights workers missing in Baghdad on 26 November are associated with their organization.

 Witness for Peace joins with millions around the world to pray and call for the quick return (lease of Tom Fox, James Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden. For more than 20 years we have stood with CPT in support of peace and nonviolence and in opposition to unjust United States policies throughout the Americas.  CPTers have dedicated their lives to opposing the oppressive policies of death and destruction that the U.S. government has pursued in Latin America, the Middle East and here at home. CPT has served as a prophetic voice for change so desperately needed in this country.

 We are grateful that CPT has stood in opposition to unjust U.S. policies and an unjust U.S. war in Iraq since 2002. We are grateful that Tom, James, Norman and Harmeet were willing to travel to Iraq and stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people. We know that they serve only the God of peace and justice, and we are eager for them to resume their work. We need their help to end the U.S. occupation and stop this war against the people of Iraq.

 We also pray for the safety and quick release of all Iraqis who have been detained and disappeared. We apologize for the harm that has been done by our government in our name. We pledge to continue our work for that day when our government sends forth more doctors than soldiers and builds more schools than military bases. We call for an end to the war in Iraq and an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

 Tom, James, Norman and Harmeet: we are holding you in the light. 

Sharon Hostetler,
Acting Executive Director
Witness for Peace

 

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More Light Needed


Dear Friends,

It is now more than two weeks since our beloved member Tom Fox was reported kidnapped in Iraq.

Throughout the Yearly Meeting, Friends have held Tom in the Light, as well as his family, his colleagues, those who hold them, and all those working to secure their release. From Roanoke to State College, from Little Britain to Goose Creek, and throughout the metropolitan areas, Friends have held meetings for worship, vigils, press conferences, and interfaith prayer services with Muslim communities. Our shared concern for the Christian Peacemaker Team members heightens our awareness that while we are separate monthly meetings we are united as a larger Yearly Meeting community.

Nonetheless, the burden of this extraordinary situation falls heaviest on Friends in the three meetings where Tom has been known
intimately: at Alexandria Meeting where Tom and his family came to Friends; at Hopewell Centre, where Tom has been living recently; and most of all at Langley Hill, where he holds membership and where his support committee is located.

Friends, we need to hold these three meetings in the Light. The vigils, press conferences, interviews, explanations of Quakerism, and extra meetings for worship can be tiring and stressful, as well as renewing, for all concerned. I ask especially that you hold Tom's support committee and all Langley Hill Friends in the Light now and in the coming weeks.

Please lift our Friends and their meetings up in your prayers, in your thoughts, and in your awareness of the care they need now and will need in the future. We need to remember to be tender with ourselves and with others as we all live through this unknown future together, recalling that we are held and will be guided, even as we learn to trust and discern in the face of confusion and uncertainty.

Some meetings may wish to consider the example of Langley Hill Meeting and explore holding interfaith prayer services with a local Muslim community. Also, Friends, if members of your meeting know Tom, please consider contacting local media and offering to be interviewed to help explain what it means to be a member of a peace church and what led Tom to serve with Christian Peacemaker Teams. We can honor Tom's courage and his witness by following his example as we are led. As Langley Hill Friends write, "we want to find ways to extend the spirit of Tom's ministry in promoting peace and interfaith cooperation."

If you have questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 814-234-0502 or ymclerk@bym-rsf.org. Please know, too, that the wider Quaker world, from Atlanta to Seattle, from Richmond to London to Iraq, FGC and FUM, AFSC and FCNL, and FWCC, is united in holding Tom and all in Iraq in the Light of Enduring Love.

In Faith, Fellowship, and Witness,
Lauri Perman
Presiding Clerk
 

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 5777th Street Meeting of Friends
5615 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL  60637
www.57thstreetmeeting.org

 

MINUTE OF SUPPORT

In response to the kidnapping of Norman Kember of London, Tom Fox of Clear Brook, Va., and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden who are members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, 57th Street Meeting of Friends expresses their support for these individuals and the purposes for which they were serving in Iraq. 

Our Quaker faith ask us to work for peace in the world and to respect that of God in everyone. We believe strongly in justice, mercy, and peace. We oppose this war as we oppose all wars. We believe in a God that is compassionate and merciful, as do the people of Iraq.  

These loyal friends of the people of Iraq are not spies as it is claimed by the 'Swords of Righteousness Brigade' and, indeed, are not supporters of the US coalition in Iraq either. Along with many people in Europe and the United States with Friends among them, they are opposed to the use of violence in any form. These four friends are not missionaries and deeply respect the religious traditions of all the people that they work with including and especially the Muslim and Christian peoples of Iraq. Their only intention is to respond to the Love of God by putting their lives at risk by doing what they can to ensure that people who are victimized by the conflict are heard and heeded. 

To exercise these principles of our belief, 57th Street Meeting of Friends continues to hold these workers and their families in the Light and to work wherever possible so that the underlying causes of violence will be replaced with love, understanding, and cooperation.

 

Approved the 18th Day of the Twelfth Month in the Year 2005
Breeze Richardson, clerk

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Dear Friends,

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Annapolis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends offers our prayers and support for Tom Fox and his colleagues on the Christian Peacemaker Team who are being held in Iraq. We hold them in the Light as well as their families and all who are suffering because of the war in Iraq.

Jennifer DeLorge McKeown
clerk of Peace and Social Concerns Committee Annapolis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

A statement of support will also be sent to the CPT website. We plan to also submit a minute to Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business in January.

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Editors:

Tom Fox is one of the Christian Peacemakers Team members in Baghdad currently being held hostage. I've been his friend for many years, and feel the need to advance his work in this, the city we hope he returns to. My prayers have joined those of many in supporting him as he works with his hosts to bring peace to them and their country. But
that is not enough. If and when he is released, he will be pleased to learn of the votes this last week in Congress to uphold the McCain anti-torture amendment and the non-renewal of the Patriot Act. Still, that is not enough. While Tom is a prisoner in an unknown location with an uncertain future, I know something of how the families of
"detainees" that he's been helping have felt when they seek his intervention to contact their loved ones somewhere in the US prison system in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay.

Our Congress needs to do something to make our foreign prison system much more open to public scrutiny and, when appropriate, its intervention. The secrecy that surrounds those prisons now does not frustrate the terrorists or Iraq insurgents. Rather, it helps them by creating a global impression that the US Government is committing
unspeakable acts of torture and maltreatment there, using secrecy to cover their crimes as dictators have always done.

This feeds the flame of insurgency in Iraq and the recruiting efforts of terrorists everywhere. Here as elsewhere, open and transparent truth about what we do is our best defense against such exaggerations. Short of adopting the Murtha Resolution to withdraw U.S. Forces from Iraq as soon as practicable, that's the best our Congress could do at this point to help Tom and his work.

Sincerely,


John Surr
John Surr is a member, with Tom Fox, of Langley Hill Friends Meeting in McLean, VA

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Dear Lauri Perman:

Please add the Vassalboro Monthly Meeting in central Maine to the list of Friends who join you in prayerful support of Tom Fox and his coworkers. He is on our minds and hearts daily.

Though we do not know Tom personally, we share your hope for a world at peace. We do, however, identify very concretely with his work, as one member of our meeting has also been in Iraq working for Peace in recent weeks.

The Vassalboro Meeting is a strong, vigorous Meeting, just across the lake from South China, the birth place of Rufus Jones. We take inspiration from his leadership as well and strive to life up to his witness. We wish you well and deeply appreciate the witness of Tom Fox and his associates.

Richard M. Kelly,
Clerk Vassalboro Monthly Meeting

=========================

Thank you for this welcome message.

Bonds of love tie Friends together and I have never been more aware of this love than during these days when we all hold Tom and his colleagues in prayer.

Thank you so much for sharing your concern with me so that I can use your message to uphold and strengthen those who are carrying a heavy weight of concern at this time. Thank you, too, for telling us a little about Vassalboro Meeting and locating it for us relative to Rufus Jones' birthplace. I've heard of "South China," but couldn't have placed it in central Maine.

With this response to you, I am copying Doug Smith, clerk of Langley Hill (LH) Meeting (Tom's meeting), and Jeanne Houghton, LH's archivist who
is assembling a record for Tom and the meeting, so that they are aware of your Meeting's loving care for Tom. Similarly, I am copying Alexander Barnes who is acting as Yearly Meeting archivist for this concern.

In Peace and Fellowship,
Lauri Perman
BYM Presiding Clerk

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Message from Terry Rumsey, Springfield, PA Friends Meeting

To Our Friends at Langley Hill Meeting:

As a member of the Philadelphia Affinity Group that participated in the September 26th nonviolent civil resistance action at the White House, I was immensely appreciative of the members of your meeting for supporting us as we challenged our nation's war policy.  You gave us shelter, warmth, and love as we prepared to take a small risk for peace.

Now, I find out that one of your members took a giant risk for peace and has paid the price. I want you to know that I will ask the members of my own Meeting, Springfield in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, to place Tom Fox and his fellow peacemakers in the light and pray for their safe release. I wish I could do more but I promise to do that much.

I feel for you as you face the uncertainty and anxiety. From all that I have read, Tom was a special human being.

Terry Rumsey
Philadelphia
September 26 Affinity Group
Springfield
, PA Friends Meeting

 

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Greetings and prayers from Philadelphia

You may remember me from the group who stayed at Langley Hill Meetinghouse on Sept. 25 and 26, to participate in the nonviolent resistance at the White House. Your meeting’s hospitality and loving care were extraordinary and meant a great deal to us as we did our best to oppose the war and occupation of Iraq. In fact, your meeting’s response was so noticeably affirming, that many of us commented on it.

And so, we were doubly distressed at the kidnapping of your member Tom Fox, whose witness in your meeting must surely have cleared the path for those of us who were protesting that weekend. We have passed the word among us, and the group as a whole would like me to pass on to you their concerns and prayers. I will forward one e-mail message to you, which is intended for Friends in your meeting.

On a wider scope, Friends in the Philadelphia area held a vigil for the hostages on Dec. 7, with perhaps 125 people attending. We had sheets of paper available for them to write messages to you folks, and a number of people took the opportunity. I’d like to send the sheets to you and want to make sure they get to the correct address. Would you recommend sending them to the meetinghouse or to you personally? What is your address?

We’re all concerned that there has been no word lately from the people who are holding the hostages. I hope it is a sign that they are reconsidering their demands or something in favor of freeing Tom and his teammates. There seems to be nothing the rest of us can do at this time but pray and watch for news.

Sincerely,

Melissa Elliott
Iraq
Program Assistant
Middle East Peacebuilding
American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
, Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 241-7166

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Friends House
Euston Road
London WC1
9/12/2005

Dear Frank Massey,

At Meeting for Sufferings last weekend, Friends asked that I should write to you to pass on the meeting's prayerful support to Baltimore Yearly Meeting and to Tom Fox' family at this difficult time. Members of our meeting who are linked with the Christian Peacemaker Team have shared with us stories of the work in Iraq and of Tom Fox' part in that. He has clearly made a huge contribution.

The pleas from such a range of people that the hostages should be released reflect how much their work is valued. We pray that those holding them as hostages will be enabled to hear and that all will be released safely.

In Friendship,
Caroline Nursey
Clerk, Meeting for Suffereings
 

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Though I've moved to Indiana I'm still on BYM's email list and enjoy staying in touch this way.

Quaker meetings here are holding the Christian Peace Team hostages and others of you in the Light. Members of Richmond Peaceful Response held a peace vigil for the hostages and those connected with them here in Richmond, Indiana last Saturday and one of us was able to persuade the local newspaper to show up and write a story which was well written and ended up on the front page!

Jane Stowe

------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you so much for keeping us informed. Patuxent Friends Meeting held a vigil last Wednesday. It was rich with silence, messages and reflection.
We held Tom and the others in the Light at Meeting for Worship last Sunday as well, and will continue to do so.

Patuxent Friends have ties with the Muslim community in Southern Md. We hope to explore ways that we can gather together at the Southern Maryland Islamic Center in Prince Frederick for shared worship.

Peace and Light,
vicki rhoades
 

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To All People Everywhere,


We are deeply saddened by all of the lives lost in Iraq. As Friends we
believe the Light of God is within all people. Homewood Friends meeting has at the center of its corporate religious life a ministry of witness for peace and for the justice that leads to that peace. We affirm the work of the Christian Peacemakers Teams, which is to labor for the end of violence, and to advocate for the human rights of all people.

We pray that Tom Fox (USA), a member of our Religious Society of Friends, Norman Kember (UK) James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada) be released so they can continue to be a presence of peace in the world, which so desperately needs peace at this time. We pray that this be done without harm to any of these men or those who now hold them.
Let us seek together a world at peace.

Beth Edelstein, Clerk
Homewood Meeting

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St. John's Episcopal Church
McLean, VA
December 1, 2005

Dear Langley Hill Friends,

Please know that we are holding Tom Fox, his fellow Christian Peacemaker Team members and kidnappers in prayer. We give thanks for their nonviolent witness.

Faithfully,
The Clergy and Staff of St. John's
 

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Canton, OH

To those who know Tom,

Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you as you face the unknown about Tom Fox's safety and those with him in the Christian Peacemakers Team. It is difficult to experience the horror of war so intimately. We plead for peace and mercy for Tom and the other CPT members.

Blessing,
Jane Yaisey
 

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North Newton, KS

To the family and friends of Tom Fox: [multiple messages]

I am grateful for the work that Tom is doing with CPT. I groan for you all in the difficulty of your situation and hope that you might feel surround by family and friends. - Julie Hart Newton

May God grant the safe release of your love one and sustain all of you as you face fear with hope. - Susan Balzer

You all are in my prayers during this very difficult time. I pray for Tom's safe return. - Jan Wiabe

We hold you and Tom in our prayers. - Cindy and Emma Regia

I hold you, your family, and all whose lives are touched in the light of Christ's' everlasting love. - Elizabeth Reid

I pray for God's strength and courage for you. - Heidi Regier Kreider

In the midst of this incredibly difficult time, may you indeed experience the peace of God that pass human understanding. - LaDeen and Rod Frey
 

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Santa Barbara Monthly Meeting
Santa Barbara, CA 93140

December 12, 2005

[copy of a letter sent to CPT]

Dear Christian Peacemaker Team,

Santa Barbara Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) want you to know of our deep concern for the wellbeing of your members - Tom Fox (USA); Norman Kember (UK); James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada) - who are currently being held hostage in Iraq. We give thanks for their work, the work of your organization, and that of all peacemakers.

We are inspired by the courage of those who follow their convictions to manifest peace in areas where conflict becomes violent. We pray that they be allowed to continue their work.

We feel it is most important that everyone involved be held harmless to further the process of building peace through peaceful means.

We are holding the captives and their captors in the Light.

Santa Barbara Monthly Meeting
Pat Hardy, Clerk

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Eugene Mennonite Church
Eugene, OR 97402

To the Family and Friends of Tom Fox,

Even though we've never met Tom, we feel connected to him through the work of CPT. Our congregation is a part of the CPT Campaign for Secure Dwellings in Hebron, and more recently participated in the Adopt-a-Detainee campaign in Iraq. We know that Tom has been part of that work, and have appreciated his emails that have kept us aware of the deep suffering and pain of the Iraqi people as a result of the US/British occupation.

We have been praying that God will give Tom courage, strength, and peace throughout this ordeal. We want you to know that our prayers are also with you as you go through this unspeakably painful experience.

With our love and prayers,

Eugene Mennonite Church
 

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Friends House
Toronto, Canada
December 7, 2005

To Langley Hill Friends Meeting, and Friends and Family of Tom Fox,

Concerned people gathered tonight at Toronto Friends Meeting House to light candles and hold in the Light the four CPTers being held captive in Baghdad. We hold in the Light as well their captors and all those working for Peace.

Peace be with you.

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First Mennonite Church
Moundridge, KS 67107

Dear Friends,

Our prayers go out for the release of Tom Fox and the other hostages. We also pray for your community in this difficult time.

Phil Waite, Pastor

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Vassalboro Friends Meeting
Vassalboro, ME 04989
[multiple messages]

Friends in Maine reach out in prayer to you and the four men of peace in Iraq. Peace and Strength - Ron Bazz

Eight Friends have been in prayer tonight (12-7-05) holding Tom Fox and his fellow CPT workers and you in Langley Hill and their families and the Iraqi people with whom they've worked and their captors in prayer. May you sense the love and support we send through God to you. - Evie Hoffman

Peace on Earth. May we be witnesses to Christ's Light shining among us all. - Kathy Bemmer

The loving care and concern of the Langley Hill Friends for Tom Fox grounds our prayers for Tom as well. We look towards the unshakable safety that is found in the Divine Presence covering Tom, his fellow peace workers, their captors, and all of us. - Fred Davis

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Messages to Langley Hill from the AFSC people who stayed at the Meeting House earlier this fall.

Dear Langley Hill, As a young friend, I was deeply moved by Tom's presence as a FAP. I continue to be deeply moved by Tom's courage.

Friends, Thank you for giving us the witness of one of your children. You have held him. Keep on. Peace.

You, also, are in our prayers.

I will be holding us all in the Light.

God is with thee.

We pray with you, Friends. May we all be held by God.

Your grounding in God at Langley Hill has provided important strength to Tom Fox and many others.

We are sending our prayers and good energy to you all, Tom, and the other CPTers.

Dear Friends, I know the struggles your meeting has gone through in the past year have been many and have been difficult. The strength of your community will pull you though. I hold you in the light and I pray for the safe return of Tom Fox and the Christian Peacemakers.

I join you in prayer.

Love and light for all.

Our hopes and prayers join yours for our four peacemakers.

Friends, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, light, and hope for peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers. I hold all of you in the light in these sad times.

We understand your worry and pain. May you all feel the arms of God around you.

Peace and love to you during this difficult time. We are grateful for such a witness of unconditional love.

Dear Langley Friends, I worshipped here at Central Philadelphia MM but with you in my heart.

What a wonderful courageous member you have.

We are thinking of all of you and hold you all in the Light.

I remember your wonderful hospitality on September 25-26 when we were arrested at the White House. Many thanks. Safe passage home for all.

So much to give thanks for - so much to hold in the Light - so much love to breathe in the Spirit.

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Gunpowder Monthly Meeting
Sparks, MD

December 19, 2005

Dear Langley Hill Friends:

Friends at Gunpowder Meeting are holding Tom Fox, his family, and Langley Hill Friends in the Light during his captivity in Iraq. Many Gunpowder Friends feel a close personal tie to Tom, as we have come to know him through the Yearly Meeting. We are so appreciative for the ongoing support by Langley Hill Friends providing for Tom's ministry and work on the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

As we gather for worship on Christmas Eve, our love and prayers will be focused on Tom and on all of you. We pray for his safe return and the continuation of his testimony for peace and social justice.

Yours in peace,
Amy Schmaljohn, Clerk

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Milwaukee Monthly Meeting
Milwaukee, WI 53212

December 21, 2005

Dear Friends at Langley Hill,

All of us at Milwaukee Meeting send our love and concern as you wait to hear about the fate of Tom Fox and the other three CPT members being held in captivity. We know that your hearts are heavy as the Christmas holidays approach.

The work these men are doing to promote peace and healing in Iraq is so desperately needed, and it seems to unjust that they are being held captive, but we all know that there have been many terrible injustices committed in Iraq, many by our own government.

This letter should have been written sooner, but we lost a beloved member of our community last week and another is gravely ill - we have been pre-occupied but have not forgotten about the hostages. We hold them, and you, in the light and in our hearts.

In Peace,

Priscilla Cimilli, Clerk

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Marmora Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada
Marmora, Ontario, Canada

Dear Friends,

Please accept our prayers and best wishes for your beloved. On December 4th, the 2nd week of Advent and the Sunday of Peace, we honoured the four men of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, James, Harmeet, Tom, and Norman, by lighting candles of peace for each one from our Advent candle of peace and then including them in our prayers of Thanksgiving and Concern during Holy Communion.

Members in all three congregations will continue to hold you, your four men and the captors in our prayers. May God be with each one of you during this difficult time, granting you courage and comfort.

With love and respect to each on of you as we continue in the hope of a peace resolution for all,

Pastor C.J. Hague

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Clear Creek Meeting
Dixon, IL

Dear Friends of Langley Meeting,

We, your friends of Clear Creek meeting, send you our loving support. Today, we finished Meeting with Christmas Carols. With loving thoughts and prayers to you.

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Columbia Friends Meeting
Columbia, Missouri

We, in the Columbia Friends Meeting, are all hold Tom Fox and his three friends for peace, in the Light. May their peace testimony prove stronger than hatred.

Sincerely, Carolyn Dell

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St. Anne's Episcopal Church
Reston, VA

December 20, 2005

To the Langley Hill Friends Meeting and the ADAMS Center:

During this time of anguish and concern, we wish to convey to you our own concern and prayers for the safe return of Tom and the other hostages. It seems a good time to acknowledge how much we treasure the bonds of friendship we have built together over the past few years, largely through the NOVA Women's Interfaith Group, and through other channels. We recognize and deeply appreciate your presence in the community, the way you live your faiths, your energy for good, your many outreach efforts, your peace and justice work. Know that we are here, honored to walk with you in this journey, and here, if needed, to lean upon. We are holding you, Tom, all hostages, their families, and their captors in prayer.

Rev. James A. Papile, Rector, for the Vestry and People of St. Anne's

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"Season of Nonviolence Vigil" Santa Monica Friends Meeting

Dear Langley Friends,

This is to let you know that we of Santa Monica Friends Meeting are holding in the Light Tom Fox and other captives in Iraq. We plan to hold a vigil next week to honor them and to commemorate the "Season of Nonviolence". Here's information about our vigil. Please share it with Tom's Friends and family. If you have any news or words to share with us, please let us know. I plan to run an article about this vigil and Tom in the March issue of Friends Bulletin, the magazine that I edit for Western Friends.



"Season of Nonviolence Vigil"

sponsored by Santa Monica Friends Meeting

January 29,  2006

12:30-1:30 PM

Palisades Park, Santa Monica (near the entrance to the pier)

 

 

in honor of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Fox and others who have dedicated their lives to peace making

  

You are invited to join us for a time of prayer and reflection. We will read passages from King, Gandhi and Fox and take time for reflection and sharing. Those who wish to do so may sign our letter to Tom Fox’s Meeting (Langley, VA) and bring flowers to place at Arlington West, the memorial to those who have died during the latest war in Iraq, sponsored by Veterans for Peace.

 

Tom Fox is an American Quaker and a member of Christian Peace Teams who, along with Norman Kember (UK); James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada), has been held hostage in Iraq since late November 26, 2005. We give thanks for their work, the work Christian Peace Teams, and that of all peacemakers. We are inspired by the courage of those who follow their convictions to manifest peace in areas where conflict becomes violent.

 

A Season for Nonviolence, January 30 to April 4, is a 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to raising consciousness and demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. Inaugurated in 1998 at the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this interfaith and international event honors their vision for an empowered, nonviolent world.

 

 

A letter to the friends and family of Tom Fox

 

Dear Friends and family of Tom Fox,

 

Greetings from Santa Monica Friends Meeting and from others gathered here on January 29, 2006, to honor Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Fox, and others who have devoted their lives to peace making. As the “Season of Nonviolence” begins, we  affirm that “peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal” (Martin Luther King). We are inspired by Tom Fox who said, “we must come from a spirit of love and compassion to help our leaders and many of our fellow citizens come to see that if we truly love God then we must make a drastic change in the course of our country.”

During this time of public prayer and reflection, we hold in our prayers the friends and family of Tom Fox and other Christian Peace Team members.  We pray for the people of Iraq, the troops of the United States as well as those from other nations, the humanitarian workers in Iraq, the families of all in harm’s way, the leaders of Iraq and of the United States, and all others affected by this war. We pray for all those held in captivity, especially those whose human rights and dignity are being abused. And we pray that those who believe in redemptive violence will see the light and experience the transforming power of divine Love.

We re-affirm our support for North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s minute calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq:

 

The North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), standing in the 350 year tradition of Friends’ opposition to war, calls for the immediate and orderly termination of the military occupation of Iraq by the United States. We believe we are called to live in that love and power that takes away the occasion of all war. We are anguished by the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis and by the deaths and lasting scars inflicted on another generation of soldiers and their families. We accept the moral and legal obligations of our country to help reconstruct Iraq, in concert with the international community and the people of Iraq. We acknowledge our own obligations to remove the seeds of war that are embedded in the ways we live our daily lives. We call for renewed efforts to prevent our nation from engaging in similar conflicts in the future. We hold in our prayers the people of Iraq, the troops of the United States as well as those from other nations, the humanitarian workers in Iraq, the families of all in harm’s way, the leaders of Iraq and of the United States, and all others affected by this war.

 

As Friends, we are committed to help our country “chart a new course,” one that will lead to peace and justice for all people.

 

 

 

Some Quotations for reflection

 

1.       We must come from a spirit of love and compassion to help our leaders and many of our fellow citizens come to see that if we truly love God then we must make a drastic change of direction in the course of our country. The only way we will gain respect is by showing it to others, even those we disagree with. The only way we will gain love is by giving it to others, even those we disagree with. Love of country must always be subordinate to love of God. Love of country alone sets us on a course towards the disasters that have befallen other counties over the centuries. Charting a new course must begin now before it is too late.—Tom Fox, August 2005

2.       Our apartment is across the street from a park. Many evenings around the time we are gathering for supper a mother and her three children walk by our living room window. The western sun illuminates her face and the faces of her young children. I don’t know her but in a way I feel I do. She looks tired. So many, many people here in Iraq are so very tired. She looks a bit fearful. Will today be the day when the insurgents set off a car bomb near the park? Will today be the day when the young men of the Iraqi National Guard, riding like cowboys in the back of their pickup trucks, get trigger happy and start shooting with her and her children in the line of fire? Yet day after day I see her taking her children to the park. Underneath the fatigue and the fear I can sense the hope and the courage in her heart. It reflects on her children as does the setting sun reflect on the nearby Tigris River. She gives me courage to face the overwhelming difficulties of life in this broken land. She is living in the present moment fully aware of the dangers and uncertainties and yet she has not given up hope, she has not given in to despair, she has not let herself be driven into hiding by men with guns and bombs. She is my teacher. She teaches me how to live fully conscious of the horrors of today and still be able to envision a future of promise, peace and plenty. I would pray that we all live each day, no matter where we are, “for the sake of our children.”—Tom Fox, June 05.

3.       At a team worship time soon after the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan I have a very clear image. It was of a land of shadows and darkness. But within that land candles were burning; not many but enough to shed some light on the landscape. Some candles disappeared and it was my sense that their light was taken away for protection. Other candles burned until nothing was left and a small number of candles seemed to have their light snuffed out by the shadows and the darkness. What was most striking to me was that as the candles which burned until the end and the candles whose light was snuffed out ceased to burn more candles came into being seemingly to build on their light.—Tom Fox.

4.       It is not enough to say ‘we must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it…We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war” — Martin Luther King, Jr, Nobel Prize Speech, Dec. 1964.

5.       We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. — Martin Luther King, Jr, April 4, 1967.

6.      World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built. Martin Luther King, Jr., December 1964  

7.    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.  Martin Luther King, Jr. 

8.    We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace….and for justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.Martin Luther King, Jr., "CONSCIENCE ANDTHE VIETNAM WAR" in The Trumpet of Conscience (1968)

9.    Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.Mahatma Gandhi, 1948

10.  Once one assumes an attitude of intolerance, there is no knowing where it will take one. Intolerance, someone has said, is violence to the intellect and hatred is violence to the heart. Mahatma Gandhi, 1942

11.  Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
Mahatma Gandhi, 1936

12.   I contend that non-violent acts exert pressure far more effective than violent acts, for the pressure comes from goodwill and gentleness.
Mahatma Gandhi, 26 December 1922

 
 
 
Yours in peace and friendship,

Anthony Manousos
Editor of Friends Bulletin
westernquaker.net
 


 

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Dear Friends,

The Annapolis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends offers our prayers and support for Tom Fox and his colleagues on the Christian Peacemaker Team who are being held in Iraq. We hold them in the Light as well as their families and all who are suffering because of the war in Iraq.

We continue to hold weekly vigils on Wednesday evenings.


Jennifer DeLorge McKeown
clerk of Peace and Social Concerns Committee Annapolis Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

 

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Dear Langley Hill Friends,

This is to let you know that we are holding in the Light Tom Fox and other CPT members in the Light.
 
I am including a letter which was signed by over 50 people and which is being sent in hard copy to you and to Tom Fox's family.
 
 

A letter to the friends and family of Tom Fox

 

Dear Friends and family of Tom Fox,

 

Greetings from Santa Monica Friends Meeting and from others gathered here on January 29, 2006, to honor Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Fox, and others who have devoted their lives to peace making. We gather here at the beginning of the “Season of Nonviolence” to be a witness for peace and to affirm that “peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal” (Martin Luther King). We are inspired by Tom Fox who said, “we must come from a spirit of love and compassion to help our leaders and many of our fellow citizens come to see that if we truly love God then we must make a drastic change in the course of our country.”

 

During this time of public prayer and reflection, we hold in our prayers the friends and family of Tom Fox and other Christian Peace Team members. We affirm our support for North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s minute calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq:

 

The North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), standing in the 350 year tradition of Friends’ opposition to war, calls for the immediate and orderly termination of the military occupation of Iraq by the United States. We believe we are called to live in that love and power that takes away the occasion of all war. We are anguished by the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis and by the deaths and lasting scars inflicted on another generation of soldiers and their families. We accept the moral and legal obligations of our country to help reconstruct Iraq, in concert with the international community and the people of Iraq. We acknowledge our own obligations to remove the seeds of war that are embedded in the ways we live our daily lives. We call for renewed efforts to prevent our nation from engaging in similar conflicts in the future. We hold in our prayers the people of Iraq, the troops of the United States as well as those from other nations, the humanitarian workers in Iraq, the families of all in harm’s way, the leaders of Iraq and of the United States, and all others affected by this war.

 

We pledge to commit ourselves to helping our country “chart a new course,” one that will lead to peace and justice for all people.

 
 
“Season for  Nonviolence” Vigil  honors Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Fox  and others who have made sacrifices for peace....

by Anthony Manousos
Santa Monica (CA) Meeting
 

On January 29, 2006, over thirty people—Friends from Santa Monica Meeting as well as community peace activists, Veterans for Peace, and religious leaders—attended a vigil to honor ML King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Fox and others who have made sacrifices for peace.

 Tom Fox is an American Quaker and a member of Christian Peace Teams who, along with Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Sooden has been held hostage in Iraq since November 26, 2005. The day before our vigil, we heard news that a new video was released  showing the four Christian Peacemaker Team members were still alive, though still held captive in Iraq. Their captors repeated their demand for release of all US prisoners in Iraq, adding that this was the “last chance” to save the four men’s lives. We hope and pray that by the time you read this, Tom and other captives in Iraq will be set free.

During our vigil we gave thanks for their work, the work Christian Peace Teams, and that of all peacemakers. We read passages from the writings of King, Gandhi and Tom Fox (see next page). We also sang peace songs and had a time of silent reflection and worship sharing out of the silence.

Several guests  participated.  Among them were Jerry Rubin (no relation to the famous one of the Chicago Seven trial; ours is a homegrown Santa Monica peace activist who has been involved in countless peace actions, including planting a “Tree of Life”  near the site of our vigil); Paul Borraccia, a Soka Gakkai Buddhist and peace activist involved with Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; and Shakeel Syed, the executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

Like many participants, Nancy Fuller, a Santa Monica Friend, felt that the vigil was a deeply spiritual experience. She writes:
“The silence was deep and at home in the babble of  Palisades traffic and children’s voices and friendly wind whispers, the  words of our elders wise. The music and signs connected us with the  other people walking by. I felt led to wait until the outdoor vigil to  share the message I heard in the Meeting for worship. Asking for Bush,  Cheney and Rumsfeld to be held in the Light was, I think, a step forward  for me on the path to true and consistent peaceful living.”

“I felt moved by what happened around the edges of the vigil,” said Stan Searl, another Santa Monica Friend. “For example, I had brief conversations with two homeless men, both of whom had served in Vietnam. One said: ‘I didn’t know there were any Quakers left; glad to hear it!’”

The children of Santa Monica Meeting also played a vital part in our vigil. They made lovely signs with captions such as “These hands are praying for peace, “These hearts are beating for peace,” and “Peace won’t come to you, you must make it.”

Our event was part of a nationwide campaign called A Season for Nonviolence, that begins January 30 (the date of the assassination of Gandhi) and  end April 4 (the date of ML King’s assassination).  This 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign is dedicated to raising consciousness and demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities (see http://www.agnt.org/ for more information).

 
Yours in peace and friendship,,

Anthony Manousos
Editor of Friends Bulletin
westernquaker.net