‘Christian Science Monitor’ Solicits Reader Comments in Support of Abducted Reporter

By: Joe Strupp

While little new word on the fate of abducted Christian Science Monitor freelancer Jill Carroll is known today, a request for comments from readers has apparently received strong support on the newspaper’s Web site.

After setting up a Web page seeking reader comments about Carroll on Friday, the paper has posted at least two dozen such comments from around the world. Monitor spokesman Jay Jostyn did not know if all of the e-mails were being placed on the site, adding that the effort was done as part of the paper’s ongoing response to Carroll’s disappearance.

“I am so inspired by Jill Carroll ‘s bravery,” wrote one reader from Madrid, Spain. “I admire her dedication to journalism — that she would go so far and take the risks she has taken to share with the world what this war is really doing to Iraq and its people. I pray for her prompt release, for her peace of mind, and for that of her family and loved ones.”

From Boulder, Colo., came this note: “The power of intention will prevail. Power is greater than force. Jill, the greater number of human beings on this planet powerfully INTEND for you to come home safely. Together we are infinite. You are not alone.”

One reader from Vermont cited the need for independent journalism in Iraq. “Independent Journalists are the world’s hope for greater understanding about what really goes on in an occupied country,” the reader wrote. “Please, release her, so that she may do what she was called to do, and tell the stories of the Iraqi people who are suffering.”

Several writers also quoted scripture, from various religious writings. “Turning to my Bible this p.m. on behalf of Ms. Carroll, I read in Isaiah 52:14 ‘The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail’,” A South Carolina resident wrote. “Surely the truth that Ms. Carroll was writing about on behalf of the Iraqis was their bread, too. Surely they want the truth to be told.”

For another reader, located in England, the Quran held the supportive words. “Now that those holding Jill have clearly established her identity as a credible and dedicated journalist, it is my sincerely hope they will end her captivity and release her unharmed. In Islam there is a verse in the Holy Quran: ‘And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people….’ (Quran 5:32),” the reader noted. “The safe deliverance of Jill, alongside all those oppressed whom she loved and reported on, remain in our prayers.

Carroll, 28, was abducted Jan. 7 in an incident in which her translator was killed. Last Tuesday, a tape showing her being held was released by her kidnappers, along with a demand that Iraq and U.S. officials release eight women being held as prisoners. The captors said Carroll would be killed if the demands were not met by last Friday.

Iraq officials had said they recommended that six of the women be released, but U.S. officials have indicated no such release would be made.

The request for reader comments followed a previous posting of several of Carroll’s stories from Iraq, apparently placed to show her practice of writing about the lives of Iraqis. The newspaper also has posted supportive comments from various religious and political leaders in the Middle East, as well as pleas for her release from Carroll’s family and colleagues.

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