James Foley Wanted to 'Build Bridges Between Christian and Muslim Worlds'

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By Sami K. Martin , Christian Post Reporter
August 23, 2014|1:02 pm
U.S. journalist James Foley (Photo: Reuters/Louafi Larbi)

U.S. journalist James Foley (R) arrives with fellow reporter Clare Gillis (not pictured), after being released by the Libyan government, at Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya, in this picture taken May 18, 2011. Islamic State terrorists have posted a video that purported to show the beheading of American journalist Foley in revenge for U.S. air strikes in Iraq, prompting widespread revulsion that could push Western powers into further action against the group. Foley, 40, was kidnapped on Nov. 22, 2012, in northern Syria, according to GlobalPost. The video was posted after the U.S. resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the end of the U.S. occupation in 2011. He had earlier been kidnapped and released in Libya. Picture taken May 18, 2011.

James Foley, the American photojournalist beheaded by ISIS militants was reportedly trying to forge dialogue between Christians and Muslims, his former fellow hostage said.

"It's completely ironic," French journalist Nicolas Henin told the Irish Times after learning of Foley's beheading. "James got hold of a Koran in English and he was fascinated by it. There were times he read it without interruption. After being taken hostage twice, he said his career as a reporter was obviously jinxed."

However, Foley was not deterred and continued working for the Global Post and the Agence France-Presse. He was taken hostage in 2012 while on assignment in Syria, which was under attack from ISIS at the time. During his imprisonment, Foley was convicted and felt the need to try and do his part to encourage dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

"He was exasperated by widespread Islamophobia, and he wanted to build bridges between the Christian and Muslim worlds. He said that when he was free, he would apply to the Committee to Protect Journalists, or commit himself to the dialogue between civilizations," Henin added.

Unfortunately, Foley did not get the chance to do either. Instead, he was dragged out by an Islamic militant and forced to his knees, where he recited the following statement.

"I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality. Think about what you are doing," he then says in a particular message to his brother John, a member of the US Air Force. "Think of the lives you're destroying, including those of your own family."

After a few more words, Foley was put to death and the video circulated world-wide. ISIS has another journalist, Steven Sotloff, in their custody and have threatened to put him to death as well if the US does not meet their demands.

"James was the only one who was friends with everyone," Henin said of Foley's time in captivity. "That's why his murder is so disgusting. No one deserves what happened to him, but he really didn't deserve to be killed. He was the guy the others turned to in their bad moments. He was the one who knew how to comfort the others."

Foley's family has held fast to their Christian faith throughout the ordeal and are glad that their son is now free after two years of imprisonment.

 

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