During his many months in captivity, James Foley, who was beheaded by the Muslim terrorist group, Islamic State (IS), in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes, once told supporters he could feel their prayers and described praying the rosary on his fingers.
The Boston Globe is reporting that authorities are now confirming the death of James Foley, 40, a freelance war correspondent from Rochester, New Hampshire, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.
IS militants distributed a video tape yesterday of the beheading which took place in an unknown location. Foley is seen kneeling on the ground with a masked member of IS standing behind him, wielding a knife.
“Speaking in a monotone, under evident duress, Foley says that his death comes in retaliation for the recent airstrikes,” the Globe reports. “Foley also directly addresses his brother, John, a member of the Air Force, and urges him to consider the ramifications of the bombing campaign.”
“Think about what you are doing. Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family,” Foley said. “I call on you, John. Think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been.
“Think, John. Who did they really kill? And did they think about me, you and our family when they made that decision?” he asked. “I died that day, John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people, they signed my death certificate. I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”
The group then threatened to kill another journalist, Steven Sotloff, if the bombings did not cease.
Foley’s family, who are members of Holy Rosary Parish in Rochester, New Hampshire, reacted to the brutal killing with grace and aplomb, heralding their son’s bravery on the Facebook page set up by his supporters: “We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria, or anywhere in the world.”
Marquette University, Foley’s alma mater, recalled a letter they received from Foley during his brief incarceration in Tripoli, Libya when he spoke about how he and his fellow captives prayed together for strength.
“I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.”
He went on to say that he and a fellow captive “prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.”
Foley, who reported on conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, was taken captive in April 2011 by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy but was released 44 days later.
He was captured in Syria in November, 2012.
A member of the Foley family has issued a plea to the world yesterday afternoon via Twitter: “Please honor James Foley and respect my family’s privacy. Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.”
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