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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Spiritual heroism of James Wright Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff

When the evil Islamic State aka ISIS makes barbaric statements about the group's hatred for all they deem to be un-Muslim, by beheading heroic journalists, they are creating an unlikely spiritual legacy. By their evil action, ISIS is raising its victims to the heights of being spiritual icons for those who oppose radical doctrines. Eventually, without any doubt, like fire burns through dense forests when sparked by lightening, the lives of executed journalists will rise above the disgusting intentions of their executioners. 

ISIS can never-ever create support for its heinously misguided philosophies by terrifying people into becoming followers. Moreover, the brutality of the group's executions of the highly reputable James Wright Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff brings attention to the spiritual strength of both men. They were spiritual bookends, like Old and New Testament martyrs, Mr. Sotloff was a devout Jew and Mr. Foley was a practicing Roman Catholic. It's an ironic coincidence that both were men of faith.

Both men appeared to be in Syria because of their convictions to tell the world about the tragedies resulting from the oppressive regime of Syrian President Assad. 

In fact, like ISIS, President Assad is terrorizing his own people while throwing all non supporters, especially Christians and certainly Jews, too, out of the Syrian nation. This is a modern Holocaust. Sotloff and Foley wanted to give voice to those oppressed by this tyranny.

As a result, millions of Syrian refugees are living in camps on the Syrian border nations, mostly in Jordan.

It's just a matter of time before iconic prayer cards will be available to honor James Wright Foley (1973-2014)  and Steven Joel Sotloff.  
Meanwhile Mr. Sotloff's family has challenged the ISIS leaders to defend the execution of their son when he had done nothing to harm anyone.  

(CNN) -- The family of American Steven Sotloff had a message Wednesday for the notorious leader of the terror group ISIS, asking him to answer for the sin he committed with the beheading of the journalist. Sotloff's family broke its silence the same day U.S. intelligence officials said the videotaped execution was authentic.

"I have a message for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," family spokesman Barak Barfi told reporters in Arabic, reading from a statement. "Where is your mercy?"

"Wayluk," Barfi said, using an Arabic phrase that roughly translates to committing a great sin.

"I am here debating you with kindness. I don't have a sword in my hand, and I am ready for your answer," according to the statement read by Barfi.The statement went on to cite passages from the Quran, asking al-Baghdadi why he violated the tenets.

Both James Foley and Steven Sotloff lived faithful lives and died herocally, albeit too violently soon.

Steven Sotloff ventured into conflict zones and dark corners of the Middle East to tell the stories of people who were too fearful to speak for themselves. He worked as a freelancer, without the security apparatus provided by major news organizations.

“Steve said it was scary over there. It was dangerous. It wasn’t safe to be over there. He knew it. He kept going back,” a college roommate, Emerson Lotzia Jr., told The New York Times.

James Foley certainly knew of the risks. Also a freelance journalist, he was imprisoned for six weeks in a Libyan jail in 2011. Even after that, he went back.

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Both Foley and Sotloff were abducted in Syria and ended up in the murderous hands of the militant group Islamic State. These brave men are now dead, their slayings revealed to the world in recent weeks in videos made public by their killers.

Both journalists are martyrs for freedom of the oppressed. Each man will have his own life and death kept alive in the sacred memories of those who will find spiritual strength from their burning desire to reveal truth in the shadow of tyranny. They both stayed true to their convictions and maintained religious dignity, even knowing they were being led to their deaths. In death, they are both immortal icons for all who risk their lives for freedom.

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