Steven Sotloff, a 31-year-old American freelance journalist, was captured in August of 2013 in Syria. According to Yahoo News, militants from the Islamic State recently released a video threatening the death of Sotloff unless the U.S. military stopped the air strikes against their organization. In the same video, the militants decapitated another American journalist named James Foley.
In response to the threatening video, the kidnapped man’s mother, Shirley Sotloff, released a video pleading for her son to be released by the ISIL. You can see her surprisingly calm plea in the video above. In the video, she claims Steven was sympathetic to the struggles of the Muslim population and does not deserve to die. She requests that the ISIL release him safely.
“He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak,” said Shirley Sotloff.
The Sotloff family had not spoken about the journalist’s kidnapping until this week. U.S. Republican Representative from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has been investigating Sotloff’s kidnapping and trying to secure his release.
“This is a tragic situation and we have seen that [the ISIL] has no respect for human life,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
A spokesman for the White House, Josh Earnest, admitted that he’s unsure if President Barack Obama has seen the mom’s pleading video, but that the U.S. government is doing everything they can to rescue American hostages in the Middle East.
“She obviously, as is evident from the video, feels desperate about the safety and well-being of her son,” said Earnest. “and understandably so, and that is why our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Sotloff’s family at this very difficult and trying time.”
According to the video, Steven Sotloff’s original intention in the Middle East was to tell the world about the oppressed people living in the region. As a result, he has been held captive by the ISIL for over a year.
According to The Wire, the mother’s video is addressed specifically to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL. In begging for her son’s release, Shirley Sotloff calls Baghdadi “the caliph of the Islamic State,” addressing him by his self proclaimed ISIL title. This decision is being called a calculated move to appeal to Baghdadi in the hopes of getting him to release her son.
“In addressing Mr. Baghdadi as caliph of the Islamic State, Ms. Sotloff’s appeal is almost certainly the first time a non-Muslim has acknowledged his authority, a move that may prove controversial,” said Rukmini Callimachi, a Romanian-American journalist.
Check back with The Inquisitr for more updates on the kidnapping and the ISIL’s response to the video.