SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-An American mother has released a video message, pleading the Caliph of the so-called Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), to release her son Steven Sotloff, a US journalist held in Syria.
“I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands,” she said in a video posted on The New York Times website.
“You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.”
In her message, Shirley Sotloff referred to Baghdadi as the caliph, giving IS group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a new legitimacy.
She asked him to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the way he treated the people of the book (Christians and Jews).
“As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over,” she said.
“I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad, who protected People of the Book. I want what every mother wants, to live to see her children’s children, I plead with you to grant me this.”
The plea came just over a week after the group threatened in a video to kill the 31-year-old unless the US stopped bombing its territory in Iraq.
In the same video, the group murdered James Foley, another American journalist, sparking angry condemnations from Muslims around the world.
Steven Sotloff disappeared while reporting from Syria in August 2013, but his family kept the news secret, fearing harm to him if they went public.
“Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants,” Sotloff said.
“Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He’s an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak. We have not seen Steven in over a year.”
Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the US president Barack Obama, said he did not know whether he had seen the appeal, but he said the administration was “deeply engaged” in trying to gain release of all Americans held hostage in the Middle East.
“She obviously feels desperate about the safety and wellbeing of her son, and understandably so, and that is why our thoughts and prayers are with Sotloff’s family at this very difficult and trying time,” Earnest said.
A UN commission in Geneva, meanwhile, accused the Islamic State group of committing crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians, and photos emerged of the fighters” bloody takeover of a Syrian military airbase.