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Deep Concern for kidnapped volunteers

Media Release

3 December

New Zealand-Council of Christians and Muslims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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