By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog editor
(CNN) – We don’t apperceive if James Foley, the American announcer beheaded by Islamic extremists, prayed in the hours and canicule afore his death. We probably never will.
But Foley said acceptance abiding him during addition affliction in 2011, back he was captivated bound for 44 canicule by armament loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.
In a gut-wrenching commodity he wrote for Marquette University’s alumni magazine, Foley said he prayed while imprisoned that his family, abounding afar away, would somehow apperceive that he was safe.
“Haven’t you acquainted my prayers?” Foley asked his mother, Diane, back he was assuredly accustomed to alarm home.
Diane Foley told her son that his accompany and ancestors had been praying, too, captivation vigils abounding with above professors, priests and Marquette students. She echoed his question back: Accept you acquainted ours?
He had, the announcer said. “Maybe it was others’ prayers deepening me, befitting me afloat,” Foley wrote.
The 40-year-old Catholic, who appear for the GlobalPost amid added publications, was abducted afresh in 2012, captured this time by the agitator accumulation ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.
On Tuesday, ISIS appear a video assuming a Muslim active clad in atramentous beheading Foley, who was cutting an orange jumpsuit and admiration in the sand.
The ISIS militant, a man with an credible British accent, said that Foley’s annihilation was aftereffect for U.S. airstrikes adjoin the accumulation in Iraq. On Monday, President Barack Obama said the American operation has helped drive ISIS from cardinal cities and basement in arctic Iraq, which allegedly angered the Muslim militants.
“Any attack by you, Obama, to abjure Muslims alternative and assurance beneath the Islamic caliphate will aftereffect in the action of your people,” the ISIS active said in the video.
The man in orange, kneeling. The man in black, wielding a knife. One asked God to cantankerous the “cosmic ability of the universe” and allay his family. The added claimed to annihilate in the “name of Allah, the best gracious, the best merciful.”
Admittedly, we know almost little about Foley’s acceptance and akin beneath about the ISIS active in black. But the adverse amid the two religious paths – one led a announcer to awning conflicts, the added a jihadist to actualize them – is jarring.
“It’s adventure against story,” said Martin Marty, an emeritus assistant of religious history at the University of Chicago, “and the added you are threatened, the added affecting and abysmal the adventure is activity to be.”
It should be said, and again often, that the contrast is not amid Christianity and Islam.
“ISIL speaks for no religion,” Obama said on Monday, application an alternating name for ISIS. “Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no acceptance teaches bodies to annihilation innocents. No aloof God would angle for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every distinct day.”
Muslims were amid the aboriginal to complaining Foley’s killing and accept again accursed ISIS’ administration of alarm in Iraq and Syria. They are victims, too, of the crimes committed in the name of Islam. Abounding accept formed endlessly to action them.
But akin as best Muslims adios ISIS, it cannot be denied that the extremists use acceptance to absolve their barbarous acts of war.
“Do jihad in the account of God, abet the believers and be accommodating in the face of this hardship,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the baton of ISIS, said in a video appear in June.
“If you knew about the accolade and address in this apple and the afterlife through jihad, again none of you would adjournment in accomplishing it.”
Under that alarm to arms, ISIS militants accept rampaged through Iraq, banishment Muslims, Christians and Yazidis to catechumen to their cast of Islam, pay a aegis tax or be killed.
ISIS has austere admired religious sites, murdered hundreds and bent and apprenticed abounding others – all in the name of architecture an Islamic state.
Foley’s accompany and ancestors say his acceptance aggressive a actual altered moral course.
He organized fundraisers for collapsed journalists, accomplished convicts in Chicago to read, and risked his activity to acquaint the belief of bodies active beneath the barbarous aphorism of dictators.
He was the affectionate of guy who consistently offered bisected his sandwich or cigarette, one acquaintance recalled. He was mensch, if such can be said of a Catholic from New Hampshire.
The antecedent of his accommodation was clear, said Foley’s friends.
“Jim’s acceptance was article we all agreed not to altercate about while he was captivated in Syria,” said Max Fisher, a announcer at Vox.com, “but it was the babyhood of his generosity.”
It’s a absurdity of avant-garde activity – best of animal history, absolutely – that saints and sinners akin draw from the aforementioned religious waters. Christian crusaders, Sufi pacifists. Sharp knives, bendable prayers.
Religion isn’t anytime absolutely so atramentous and white. Best of us alive in the all-inclusive gray amplitude between. But at moments like this, it’s adamantine to absence the contrast.
“It’s adventure against story,” as Marty put it, “and you get rid of the bad ones by cogent acceptable ones.”
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