|Birth: ||Jul. 7, 1951|
|Death: ||Mar. 9, 2006, Iraq|
Tom Fox was 54 when he and three other men of the Christian Peacemaker team were abducted on 11-26-05. Three and a half months later on March 9, 2006, he was found along the main road near a train station in Bagdad. He had been bound, tortured and then shot to death. He was a music major in college and played for the Marine Band during the Vietnam War. He is survived by 2 children.
Update: Since the below article was written the other 3 hostages have been released and are now safe at home.
Info below from the Winchester Star. (Winchester, Va)
A local peace activist who friends describe as courageous, admirable, and selfless has been killed in Iraq.
The FBI verified that a body found in Iraq Friday morning was that of Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook.
Friends of Fox contacted Friday night said the news left them devastated.
Lisa Schirch, an associate professor at Eastern Mennonite University who taught Fox to be a human-rights monitor before he left, remembered her friend as passionate about bringing lasting peace to Iraq — somone willing to face danger for his beliefs.
"[Tom Fox] was trying to help the Iraqi people. ... I don't think he had any regrets"
— Dr. Anne Bacon
"He was willing to give his life," she said. "He told everyone this might happen, and we all knew it."
Fox and three other peace activists were seized on Nov. 26, 2005, by a previously unknown group called The Swords of the Righteousness Brigade.
He and the other hostages, James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada, and Norman Kember 74, of London, were members of the Chicago-based aid group Christian Peacemakers Teams.
No other information was available on the other three hostages Friday night.
FBI spokesman Noel Clay said Friday he did not know how Fox was killed but said additional forensics will be done in the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is investigating.
The four hostages had not been heard from since a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera on Jan. 28, dated from a week before.
A statement reportedly accompanying that tape said the hostages would be killed unless all Iraqi prisoners were released from U.S. and Iraqi prisons. No deadline was set.
On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera television broadcast a videotape dated Feb. 28 that showed three of the Christian Peacemaker Teams activists — but not Fox.
Christian Peacemaker Teams issued a press release Friday saying, "We mourn the loss of Tom Fox, who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.
"Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence that light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war."
Dr. Anne Bacon, a Quaker and clerk of the Hopewell Centre Meeting in Clear Brook, said Friday night she felt sadness for the loss of her friend, but also a sense of gratitude for having known him.
"He had very important work over there, work that I hope will continue."
Fox would spend four months in Iraq doing work with Christian Peacemaker Teams and return to the United States for two months.
Bacon said Fox felt what he was doing — trying to help the Iraqi people — was important.
"I don't think he had any regrets," she said.
Bob Sekinger, a long-time Quaker and member of Hopewell Centre Meeting, agreed.
Sekinger said he did not know Fox well, but knew Fox believed was he was fulfilling a calling by God.
He had talked with Fox about the risks of him being kidnapped, bombed, or killed on his travels to Iraq.
But when he pressed Fox about those dire possibilities, Sekinger said Fox felt he still should work in Iraq because of the number of Iraqis who had been killed there.
"Tom was very clear about the danger," Sekinger said.
Fox was one man trying to make a difference, he said.
"I think the world is a better place because of him," Sekinger said.
Bob Pidgeon, a Quaker and member of the Hopewell Centre Meeting, met Fox last summer during one of his visits to the Centre.
"I admired him for his selflessness in working for the Christian Peacemakers Team," he said.
Pidgeon was among those who attended Wednesday night vigil services held since November.
The news of Fox's death shocked Pidgeon Friday night, leaving him hard-pressed to describe his feelings.
"I'm just going to let the bad news sink in for the time and see what comes later," Pidgeon said.
Friends of the former student at Eastern Mennonite University were also saddened by Friday's news.
Associate Professor Lisa Schirch said that many Iraqis appreciated Fox's efforts.
"He wasn't an aggressive person and he wasn't trying to proselytize," she said. "He was working for human rights in a peaceful way."
While Fox's work was cut short, Schirch said others who share his convictions should continue the effort.
"There has to be people willing to do the long-term work," she said. "Military fighting can't win the peace. It's a short-term solution."
Calvin Allen, dean of Shenandoah University's College of Arts and Sciences and an authority on Middle Eastern affairs, said Friday night Fox was singled out by hostage takers because he was American.
"Unfortunately, the pattern in Iraq is they don't get what they want and they kill the hostages. And apparently that's what happened here," he said.
Allen said groups like the Swords of the Righteousness Brigade take hostages who are most convenient, people like Tom Fox and other aide workers.
"It's senseless. It's tragic, it really is."
— The Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Created by: Lisa King
Record added: Jun 15, 2006
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