CAIR Calls for Release of Iraq Hostages
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/4/05) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today held a news conference at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C., to call for the release of members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams recently taken hostage in Iraq.
In his prepared statement, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed said:
“The hostages in Iraq are longtime friends of the Muslim community. On numerous occasions they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Muslims advocating for their causes – from forming human-shields in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, to protecting the honor and property of the Palestinian people.
“Those who left the comfort of their homes to advocate for the rights of others that do not share their faith, ethnicity or language should be celebrated and honored by Muslims, not humiliated by being made captives or, God forbid, killed. This is a universal human ideal and a cherished principle of Islam.
“As a leader of the American Muslim community and the head of America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, I make a personal appeal to the captors of the four members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams – release our brothers in humanity immediately and unconditionally. We also make this call to the captors of all those, of any faith, currently held hostage in Iraq.
“Taking hostages and threatening to kill them brings no honor to Islam, Muslims or to the people of Iraq.
“Again I ask the captors to release our brothers so that they can continue to advocate for the cause of justice in Iraq and elsewhere, just as they have done in the past.
“God says in the Quran: ‘O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious.’ (Quran, 5:8)
“In another verse, God states that whoever kills a human being, it shall be as if he had killed all of humankind, and anyone who saves a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humankind.” (Quran, 5:32)
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “The group that these hostages belong to exposed abuse of detainees in Iraq long before the Abu Ghraib scandal became public.” Awad mentioned this fact because the kidnappers are demanding the release of all detainees in Iraqi or American custody in that nation.
Awad also translated into Arabic CAIR’s statement calling for the release of the hostages.
Speakers at today’s news conference included representatives of CAIR, the Washington-area Muslim community, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), and Langley Hill Friends Meeting in McLean, Va., of which one of the hostages (Tom Fox) is a member.
CAIR has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com