Friend and spokesperson for the Sotloff family Barak Barfi challenged ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to a debate on Islam during an emotional press conference Wednesday afternoon in Miami.
Following the release of an ISIS video showing the beheading of Steven Sotloff at the hands of an ISIS militant, Barfi openly wept while speaking directly to the militant leader. "I have a message to Abu Bakr," Barfi said, according to translations by ABC News. "You said Ramadan is a month of mercy but where is your mercy? You speak of Islam and the Holy Koran but I know the Koranic verses."
Barfi cited a verse in the Koran that talked about Allah's displeasure for those who oppress. "Abu Bakr, I am ready to debate you," Barfi said. "I come in peace, I don't have a sword in my hand, I am ready for your answer."
Barfi went on to describe Sotloff as a gentle man who loved "South Park," The Miami Dolphins, and Skyping with his father to talk about golf. "Steve had a gentle soul that this world will be without. But his spirit will endure in our hearts," Barfi said. "The Sotloff family are in mourning, but our village is strong. We will not allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the sole weapon they possess – fear."
The Sotloff family also sent their condolences to the family of James Foley, who was slain last week also at the hands of ISIS militants. "Like Steve, he suffered," Barfi stated. "But his jailers never broke him, and he was an inspiration for others in that dark prison far from this country's freedoms."
Barfi is a researcher who specializes in Arabic and Islamic affairs. He has been the spokesperson for the Sotloff family since the journalist disappeared in Syria in August of 2013.