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Guest Rev. Shincho Shigeta
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Guest Rev. Shincho Shigeta

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

of

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 release 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

11 incident in the U.S. We made clear our position that we act on the basis

of protecting life together with Christians, Buddhists and Muslims and others of

different faiths. Our aim and goal is to spread our prayers for peace and

expand 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

80 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

shall

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

Cooperation)

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

Policy)

Rev.Toshimasa Yamamoto (National Christian Council in Japan)

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