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Friday, December 9, 2016
Candelit vigil for Norman Kember
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 Christians and Muslims, peace organisations, friends and supporters of Norman Kember, the British peace activist abducted in Iraq, will hold a silent, candlelit prayer vigil on Monday evening in Trafalgar Square, central London. The vigil will take place from 6 - 7pm. Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney were in Baghdad as part of a Christian Peacemakers Team delegation to meet with those who are suffering under the terrible conditions that currently exist there. There were abducted on Saturday 26 November. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi, one of the organisations behind the vigil said: "For Christians, Advent is a time of waiting and expectation. This year, the waiting and expectation of Advent take on another quality and meaning as we remember our friends Norman, Tom, Harmeet and James held in Iraq. Our vigils and prayers are an attempt to wait with them . To remember them and their families. To remember those who hold them at this time and hope that they hear the message of peace. We also vigil and witness as a reminder of the ongoing challenge to do all we can to bring peace and justice to the people of Iraq." Throughout this week there have been many appeals for the release of the peacemakers and prayer vigils have been held around the world. On Thursday, the radical cleric Abu Qatada, detained in the UK since 2002, made an appeal for the hostages' release. In a video filmed in prison, he urged the kidnappers to free them "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion". Later, Britain's former Guantanamo detainees called for the release of the hostages. Moazzam Begg said: "It is our sincerest belief that Norman Kember and those with him, are amongst those people, the many people who opposed this war from the beginning and were only in Iraq to promote human rights for the oppressed. "Just like Sheikh Abu Qatada we also hope that our words may encourage you to show mercy to these men and let them free." UK foreign secretary Jack Straw has repeated calls for the men's release and urged the captors to make contact.
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