Muthana Harith al-Dhari, head of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), condemned and denounced all violent acts that expose innocent citizens – regardless of their identities – to danger.
Al-Dhari told Iraqi television: "Regarding the recent kidnapping of the American journalist [Jill Carroll] ... This journalist is one of the anti-occupation journalists. Indeed, she wrote many articles that explain the negative signs of the occupation. Also, in a recent story, she focused on the violations performed by government security forces against civilians.
"So, [its possible] that the occupiers might not be far removed from responsibility for this event. But if it was done by some anti-occupation forces then this is a message from us to make them understand the situation and release her in order to allow her to go back to work and participate in uncovering the real reasons for the American occupation in Iraq and the violations against its people."
Carroll, a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), who has also written for other US and Italian media from Iraq, was kidnapped on 7 January shortly after arriving for an interview with a prominent Sunni official. Her Iraqi translator, Alan (Elin) Enwiyah was killed, but her driver managed to flee the scene.
In the video aired by Aljazeera, previously unknown group Brigades of Vengeance said they would kill Carroll within 72 hours if all Iraqi female detainees were not released by US-led forces.
Faye Bowers, former deputy CSM foreign editor and national security correspondent called back to assist the newspaper, said the statements by the AMS and other Iraqi groups have raised hopes that Carroll may be released soon.
A group called Brigades for
Vengeance kidnapped Carroll
She told Aljazeera.net: "We are very appreciative of the AMS for making such a public statement.
"No matter how people in the Arab World feel about the US occupation of Iraq, they feel differently about innocent and objective journalists.
"People from all walks of life in the Arab world have been calling and praying for her release."
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Accordance Front party, said kidnapping is not an Islamic practice. He pledged all efforts by his party to secure her release.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood also condemned Carroll’s kidnapping and said such actions contradict the principles of religion and will not help in liberating Iraq from foreign occupation.
"We ... appeal to the kidnappers of the American journalist Jill Carroll to release her as lives of innocent civilians - Iraqi or foreign - should be well guarded.
"Jill ... and her colleagues have come to Iraq to report the events to the world, reminding everyone of the hardships faced by the Iraqi people under occupation. Once more, we call upon our brothers in the Iraqi resistance not to target media workers," the Brotherhood said in a statement.
Arab media has also condemned the kidnapping as "brutal and unwarranted".
"Jill ... and her colleagues have come to Iraq to report the events to the world, reminding everyone of the hardships faced by the Iraqi people under occupation"
The Muslim Brotherhood
On Tuesday, Ayman Al-Safadi, editor of the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, expressed anger and dismay that Carroll would be targeted by armed groups.
"She put her life at risk by struggling to convey the voices of Iraqis to American public opinion, which was showered with wrong information about the developments in Iraq."
Conveying the truth about the war in Iraq was her primary objective, says Jordanian journalist Natasha Tynes, Carroll’s friend and former colleague.
"Jill was very much into Arab culture and was learning Arabic," she told Aljazeera.net.
"Everybody loved her."
As for Carroll’s family, they have released a statement but so far have not appeared publicly. They have said they remain optimistic for her release.