From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Japan Peace Network letter to Iraq Islamic Clerics

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 23 Apr 2004 12:53:20 -0700

Dear Friends:

The below is a copy of our letter of Gratitude and Solidarity from the
Interfaith Peace Network of which NCCJ is a member, in Japan to the Islamic 
Association in Iraq. As we are not able to obtain a direct contact address
or/and fax # of Islamic Clerics Association in Iraq, I would appreciate it
much if you could  send me any info to find the address.
Easter greetings,

Toshi Yamamoto

A Message of Gratitude and Solidarity from the Interfaith Peace Network in
Japan to the Islamic Clerics Association in Iraq.

April 20, 2004

We are grateful to learn that three Japanese civilians and two other Japanese
who were taken as hostage were protected by the Islamic Clerics Association
in Iraq and released. We share our joy together with many Japanese people on
hearing the news.

It was reported in Japan that the Islamic Clerics Association patiently
appealed to the  militant group calling for the release of these 
individuals who
were not cooperating with the US-led occupation of Iraq, from the standpoint
Islamic law and on a humanitarian basis. We, as religious persons who value
most irreplaceable life, wish to express our heartfelt gratitude and pay our
respects to the mediating role of the Islamic Clerics Association for the 
of the Japanese this time.

We organized and established the "Interfaith Network for Peace " in 2002,
fearing that the violence of war has been further justified in the name of
justice and people's lives are treated merely as objects since the September
incident in the U.S.  We made  clear our position that we act on the basis
of $B!Hprotecting life $B!Itogether with Christians, Buddhists and Muslims 
and others of
different faiths. Our aim and goal is to spread our prayers for peace and 
the circle of action for peace and justice making.  We consistently have been
opposing the US attack on Iraq. We also are against the dispatch of Japanese
Self Defense Force (SDF) to Iraq and we have been conducting a signature
campaign to oppose sending SDF to Iraq.  We collected 12,000 signatures and
submitted these petitions to Prime Minster Koizume five times thus far.

We are grieved and pained by the report that in Falluja more than 900 Iraqis
were killed in combat and the death toll among the U.S. troops has exceeded
in the last two weeks. What is especially serious is the fact that Iraqi
people continue to die.

We maintain and demand that the Japanese  government  pull out the SDF from
Iraq in accordance with our "war denouncing " Peace Constitution. They also
should withdraw the SDF according to the special measure law on Iraq which
clearly states that SDF cannot operate in    "combat zone " as it is 
becoming clear
that any place in Iraq can be called a "combat zone ." We firmly believe that
the weight and preciousness of life is the same regardless of the fact that
one's language, religion, race, culture or the place of origin is different.
Whatever the reasons are, nobody has the right to deprive anyone of his/her
life.  We, human beings need to uphold reverence for the life of all living
creatures. We hereby send our solidarity message to you praying that peace 
immediately prevail in Iraq over the violence. We also remember your work to
protect the human dignity of Iraqi people in our prayers.

Members of Interfaith Peace Network:
Rev. Yukichi Ishikawaapan Religionists' Peace Conference)
Rev. Yoshinobu Ogawa (Christian Network for Peace )
Rev. Kenichi Otsuapan Christian Academy)
Mr. Kenzo Kimuraapan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace)
Ms. Sachie Monmaapan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace)
Rev. Shincho Shigeta (NPO Ayus-Network of Buddhism Volunteer on International
Rev. Takao Takeda (Nipponzan Myohoji)
Rev. Hideo Ishi (Lotus Buddhism International Society)
Rev. Masahiro Kishida (Asian Buddhism conference for Peace Japan Center)
Rev. Eijo Yamato (The Religionist Association for Reviewing of Nuclear Power
Rev.Toshimasa Yamamoto (National Christian Council in Japan)

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