James Foley: Another battle lost by humanity

Published: August 20, 2014

This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped, while on duty, by a group of militants. PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: SCREENSHOT This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped, while on duty, by a group of militants. PHOTO: AFP

The search for James Foley, by his family members, began when he was kidnapped in Syria on November 22nd, 2012. After a long wait and dispersion, the quest has come to a devastating end.

This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped by a group of militants. In 2011, he and fellow journalists were abducted while in Libya but were later released. Then, while working in Syria, he was captured again, only this time he was not as lucky. Foley was reporting on the suffering of the people of Syria. On Monday, a video called ‘A Message to America’ started circulating on social media platforms allegedly showing the beheading of photo-journalist James Foley by the ISIS. The ISIS claim that Foley has been beheaded as a repercussion of the US bombing of the ISIS in Iraq. Also in the video, another American citizen, reportedly a contributor to the New York Times, is said to be ‘next’ if ‘Obama doesn’t change his decision’ – a message conveyed by a masked man wearing black, speaking in, what is purportedly, a British accent. However, the authenticity of the video tape is not yet confirmed.

James Foley. Photo: AFP

In reaction to this video the United States’ National Security Council said,

“If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

It was extremely distressing, however, to read the reaction of Foley’s family on Facebook. They wrote,

“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 innocent.”

Think about this for one second. You are a merry family, living together peacefully; one of you leaves for work and never comes back. Ever. Gone with the wind. How painful must it be for the family not only to know that they will never see their child again, but to watch a video in which he is brutally beheaded; a video in which he expresses his grief at not being able to see his family one last time – clenching his teeth in fear. Think of the family that waited so long with the anticipation, and hope, that someday they will see their beloved once again.

James Foley. Photo: Reuters

The excruciating pain that the family and friends must have had to endure is only a fraction of what is felt by me and you today – and we are complete strangers. This incident took me back to the killing of the Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and slaughtered in Karachi in 2002 by Omer Sheikh supporters. Daniel’s wife, Mariane was expecting when he had been kidnapped. It makes me anxious just to think of how difficult it must be for the families of these brave individuals.

No religion allows you to kill innocent people for the sake of retribution. It is against the preaching of any faith and Islam clearly states that killing one innocent person is equivalent to killing humanity. The message being spread by the fascist group, ISIS, is no where near the true face of Islam – if anything; it is contradiction to everything taught by our religion. I am not here to defend my religion, I do not believe that is required – Islam does not need to be defended, it is very clear. Nowhere will you find Islam advocating the destruction of shrines, the instigation of terror or the decapitation of humans. No Muslim can kill so ruthlessly, no matter what gigantic loss they may have suffered in their past. Islam, since its inception, has always practiced tolerance, respect, generosity and love for everything living. Where has this sense of benevolence gone? What has come over these people?

James Foley. Photo: Reuters

The fact that religion is being used to disguise and further their disgusting agenda is revolting. Since when has it become so easy to kill someone? Since when is ‘hating’ another based on religion okay? Why is it so hard for us, as a human race, to live and let live? Killing Muslims and non-Muslims, alike, is getting you a first-class ticket to hell. Please do not be mistaken, this path will not lead you to paradise. Learn about religion yourself! Don’t rely on anyone else’s interpretation of it – you were given a brain for that reason.

Coming back to Foley, I want to applaud the courage of journalists like him who have sacrificed their lives in the way of humanity. They are the unsung warriors of the world and they deserve more than we can ever give them. My heart and condolences go out to all those families and friends who have had to endure pain and suffering through these dark times. Humanity stands by your side.

Sehrish Salahudin

Sehrish Salahudin

A writer by profession. An avid reader, freelance journalist and blogger. Currently working in Capital TV as a copy editor. She has done her masters degree in Mass communication. She tweets as @shrshbutt (twitter.com/shrshbutt)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • khurram

    I saw the video its really a sad end for foley because he was forced to read a statement against his brother,holding him(as he serves in US Air Force) responsible for his murder. ISIS is a disgrace to not only muslims but whole humanity.Recommend

  • sehi butt

    why not write something on Gullo butt..pumi butt.. and now the latest billo butt…Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Death is death. There is no political or religious cause worthy, unless its for the greater good.

    A good Journalist died. His Family will be devastated. Neither him nor his killer will go anywhere.

    No need to romanticize death.
    May the Families of the innocent get over this tragedy.Recommend

  • Dante

    And I’m sitting here appalled by all the innocents brutally murdered by the American drones.

    “Since when has it become so easy to kill someone?”


  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    These so called jihadists should not even be called human. I have been following the Foley story and it appears as if for once the entire cybersphere is united in condemning this heinous crime. He was a man who disturbed no one, gave no one grief and was covering the situation to HELP the very people who killed him.Recommend

  • Come on …

    ‘ The fact that religion is being used to disguise and further their disgusting agenda is revolting. ‘
    Author,you say that religion is solely a disguise for their political ambitions ? If that were 100% true,the ISIS wouldn’t be able to recruit fighters, from civillian citizens of Australia(160],Britian(400),Indonesia etc…if not for religion,what other brotherhood is common between terrorists in Iraq and brown passport holders of Britain and Australia who have taken up arms for isis ??
    Come on …

  • Faraz

    What else is common? –
    A. Idiocy
    B. Delusion
    C. Savagery
    D. ObscurantismRecommend

  • Maryam Zia

    I dont get it why is US so adamant on fighting ISIS while they “donate” weapons to Israel for bombing gaza and killing innocent Palestinians..why the double standards if they dont have any ulterior motive???Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    His murder was a disgusting act by terrorists. My condolences to his family. R.I.P Mr. Foley.Recommend

  • kmax

    While i do condemn the murder, i find it ironic that you would use a whole article to project an image of an nation which is did and currently doing exactly the same thing since the year 2000. The extra judicial killings in Iraq and other parts of the world, you seem to have conveniently ignored them. Very hypocritical of you. If you want to move to the US and this article is your way addressing that desire, oh wait your last name is “BUTT”, that explains alot………Recommend

  • Come on …

    Just because savagery is common here, that is not a sufficient motivator to travel overseas & decapitate entire villages of people of specific denominations. These people have a curiously specific ideology to make them feel fully justified & self-righteous in carrying out inhuman pastimes-that’s not a coincidence.Recommend

  • Kajamohideen

    There is no major religion which is not revoltingRecommend

  • Hamza

    This article is more or less a tribute to James Foley.
    Was he operating those drones? No.
    Learn to show a little respect to the dead.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Sheikh

    USA kills thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan no one bats an eye. ISIS kills one american belongs to an invader country and liberals lose their mindsRecommend

  • sharabi

    I am afraid to say that but it seems to me that”Come on … ” is absolutely right.
    I try to follow Islam but said thing is that people like me are really minority in this world.(Because i have come across many Educated Muslim brothers from the very same ISIS type ideology, yes in India too)
    We Muslims need to get rid of these fanatics Mullahs & should follow the Quran Pak by ourselves.Recommend

  • Fauzia M

    so can we not be equally appalled by the killing of innocents? Two wrongs never make a right. Nobody is stopping you from being appalled and take actions for those killed by drones but it does not justify killing of innocent people elsewhere. It is like you killed my sister, now I am going to kill your neighbour in revenge.Recommend

  • Kajamohideen

    Why blame humanity at large? Are you trying to dilute the guilt if Muslims? Muslims jump to take credit for the silliest of achievements by Muslims. But when any atrocity is committed by Muslims, who themselves acknowledge their inspiration from the Koran and the Prophet , you squirm and claim they are true Muslims or dilute their crimes by involving the rest if humanity in the Muslim crime.Recommend

  • Sehrish Butt

    I respect your opinion and emotions simultaneously, my heart
    bleeds and feeling the same pain and grief on killing of thousands of innocent people.
    I strongly condemn atrocious killing of every single human being whether it’s
    Muslim or non-Muslim.Recommend

  • Guest

    I respect your opinion and emotions simultaneously, my heart
    bleeds and feeling the same pain and grief on killing of thousands of innocent people.
    I strongly condemn atrocious killing of every single human being whether it’s
    Muslim or non-Muslim.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    Equating drone attacks to beheading journalist is classic anti American blather – long on blather and short on logic.Recommend

  • Guest

    I respect your opinion and emotions simultaneously, my heart
    bleeds and feeling the same pain and grief on killing of thousands of innocent people.
    I strongly condemn atrocious killing of every single human being whether it’s
    Muslim or non-Muslim.Recommend

  • Cautious

    USA doesn’t intentionally execute non combatants … USA doesn’t kidnap and ask $100 million in ransom … USA doesn’t behead people … USA doesn’t slaughter civilians and put video on the internet to recruit.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    American Drones in the past 6 or so years, killed more militants and didn’t drive 1 Million Pakhtuns out of their homes, robbing them of livelihood, their wealth, their very lives.

    This was achieved by your Pakistani Airforce. In 1 month of bombing there were more IDPs, than the number of people Drones flew over in 6 years.

    Drones are a God send for a country like Pakistan, where the state writ doesn’t even exists in the heart of the Capital Islamabad(remember Lal Masjid?).Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    My comment was edited. I had also mentioned there is no heaven or hell. All this is make believe by the society and the scared Human Being of not accepting that he will not live on even after his death.

    People should stop talking in Heaven and Hell. Please be more rational. Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Its actually the media that portrays things the way they want. The man who beheaded Foley was called ‘John’ and John is not even a muslim name. ISIS is an Israeli/western funded terrorist organisation formed to create havoc in Iraq and the middle east so that USA can send its armies to control the countries. Iraq is full of Oil and American companies are there to loot the oil and they need an excuse to be there and ISIS is that excuse. and ordinary people like you think that the muslims or Islam is at fault. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has already denounced ISIS as a terrorist organisation, that has nothing to do with Islam.Recommend

  • Cautious

    Since when is protesting the beheading of unarmed civilians considered “liberal”? Being anti America is one thing – using it to support ISIS is over the top.Recommend

  • siesmann

    so that they can help the real Muslims who are being killed by these “muslims”Recommend

  • Shocked

    Simple. ISIS is a extremist group that slaughters civilians because of their beliefs – beheads civilian journalist – and is so violent that even Al Qaeda disowned them. Israel drops bombs in retaliation from rocket attacks from Hamas a terrorist group similar to ISIS.Recommend

  • Lost my mind

    Ok,you say that ISIS was justified in killing James Foley in retaliation since he was an American ( some cold-blooded logic )…I wonder how you justify religious ISIS,killing thousands of peaceful Yazidis,Chaledeans & Kurds.Recommend

  • What logic !

    If regular people like you have this kind of justification for the blood-thirsty actions of Jihadis ,then its very easy to understand how the ISIS are sure, of how correct they are, to butcher people ( whether James Foley or Yazidis )Recommend

  • Faizan

    It is human nature to take credit for one’s achievements and to accredit failures to external sources, taking no blame on oneself.
    That being said, no sane human can take credit for such heinous crimes. If you think that any religion, be it muslim/hindu/christianity… etc, should take credit for such monstrous acts then you sir clearly need to pull your head out of that dark place where the sun never shines.Recommend

  • Lala land

    He didn’t say ‘take credit’,he meant ‘don’t feign ignorance wherever it suits you all ‘.Recommend

  • Fact

    They’re the syrian branch of Al-qaeda.Recommend

  • harkol

    USA needed oil in early 2000s, today they are almost self-sufficient in oil and can’t care much about middle east. To think the age old narratives hold good is to fool oneself.

    The fact of the matter is Islam needs to have a renaissance. It needs to have a moderating figure who provides a guidance that is not extreme. till that happens, we’ll keep seeing such barbaric ‘clash of cultures’

    Wars happen between countries where national interest is involved. Terror groups are nothing but anarchists, who refuse the laws, boundaries and limitations of a nation & society.Recommend

  • Hamza

    Names have nothing to do with Islam. Many Islamic scholars in the West have names like “John”, “James”, “William” etc. and same is the case with their last names too. Many Western converts to Islam don’t change their names at all
    Many British Muslims are a part of ISIS. The real and full name of Foley’s executioner is not known. He spoke with a British accent so many newspapers are referring to him as “Jihadi John”. If ISIS is “Israeli and Western funded” and their fighters are not Muslims then they are not so stupid as to use each other’s real names in videos that they intend to show the world.
    And a group like ISIS which blows up the tombs and shrines of Prophets really won’t care what The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia thinks about them.Recommend

  • Jamsheed Najam

    One day the state will collapse and this will be daily life. Will you still be saying it is a Israeli/Western conspiracy. You are truly deluded. Arab money is funding ISIS. Arab influence and brainwashing in madrassas is behind the Shia massacresRecommend

  • Nicknames

    The British passport holding jihadis,who were guarding the kidnapped journalists,called each other by nicknames to protect their identities-John,Paul,Ringo…after John Lennon,Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr- from the 70’s British band,The Beatles.Recommend

  • Nobody

    To add to the other responses to your comment, Arabs are funding terrorism, not Americans and not Israelis. Even madrassahs in Pakistan are funded by so called brother in Islam Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, a destabilized Middle East is a problem for the US and an even bigger problem for Israel.

  • Nobody

    Ahh such is the stronghold of the Jewish lobby on our idiotic American leaders. At its core, it’s not about empathizing with Israel or caring whether Israel can defend itself or not; it’s the Jewish lobby. Older Americans are programmed like robots to spew out the same two-three lines about their “friend & ally” Israel. Ask a 20-something American and you will likely receive a very different response (not pro-Hamas, but certainly not pro Israel either). Israel has been winning the image war for decades, which at last seems to be changing….not soon enough. A long answer for a short explanation.

  • Nobody

    With respect, you seem to have an over simplified view of the situation. Israel’s action were in no way self defense. That’s simply an excuse used by Israelis and those remaining ignorant Westerners as a cover-up to Israel annihilating civilians. It was overkill and nothing more.
    Israel is the wrongful occupier. When you steal someone’s land, you no longer have the right to defend it as your own when it’s former resident retaliates.
    As anti-Hamas as I am, I do not think Israel was simply retaliating; Israel has BEEN doing this to Palestinians long before Hamas existed.

  • Fact

    I agree with you that ISIS has nothing to do with islam,but the current leader,abu bakr al bagdadi is a scholar with a Ph.D in islamic studies-so he has a superior knowledge of religious texts & better interpretations. Now what to do about that…do you have a Ph.D in islamic studies to assert that your interpretations and understanding of religion is greater than his ? Recommend

  • Abdul

    Agree with you wholeheartedly. Why not start a campaign to refuse all aid and arms from ‘killer’ Americans.Recommend

  • Abdul

    By the same yardstick. cannot imagine why USA donates armament and money to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Sheikh

    Express Tribune is not approving my comments that’s why I cannot answer to you.Recommend