American journalist James Wright Foley, believed to have been abducted in Syria in 2012, became the subject of a harrowing propaganda video released Tuesday in which Islamic State jihadists beheaded him to “send a message” to the United States. In a public statement on Facebook, Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, honors her son and requests privacy for her family at this time.
“We have never been prouder of our son Jim,” writes Foley, noting, “he gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.” Foley calls for the Islamic State terrorists to show mercy upon those abducted that may yet still be alive, particularly the American captives who, she notes, have no control over U.S. foreign policy.
In addition to Foley, one other captive appears in the Islamic State video, which has since been removed from YouTube. He has been identified as Steven Joel Soltoff, a journalist who has previously contributed to Time, The National Interest, and Media Line. Soltoff is believed to have been captured between April and August 2013, when he sent his last tweet.
Foley was an independent journalist who specialized in Middle Eastern and north African politics, the veteran of one other abduction before being kidnapped in Syria. In 2011, the still-active forces of dethroned Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi took him captive. He returned to the front lines to work as an independent journalist for Agence France-Presse in Syria, where he was last heard of on Thanksgiving 2012. His family had set up a website to help find Foley since that disappearance; the website has been taken down.
The full statement from Diane Foley via Facebook below:
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.
We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.