Internet video purports to show ISIS beheading U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff

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(CNN, AP) – An Internet video purports to show beheading of US reporter Steven Sotloff by Islamic State group, the Associated Press reports.

This horrifying news comes just a few days after Sotloff’s mother made a plea to the terrorists holding her son hostage: No individual should be punished for events he cannot control.

Steven Sotloff (Photo: The Daily Caller/MGN Online)

Steven Sotloff (Photo: The Daily Caller/MGN Online)

Shirley Sotloff spoke directly to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a video broadcast Wednesday on Al Arabiya Network.

Her son, freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, appeared last week in an ISIS video showing the decapitation of American journalist James Foley.

The militant in the video warns that Steven Sotloff’s fate depends on what President Barack Obama does next in Iraq.

A day after the video was posted, Obama vowed that the United States would be “relentless” in striking back against ISIS.

“Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson,” Shirley Sotloff said in the rare public appeal. “He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak.”

The journalist has no control over what the United States government does, and he should not be held responsible for its actions, she says.

“He’s an innocent journalist,” she said.

The mother appeals to al-Baghdadi’s self-declared title of caliph of the Islamic State.

As caliph, he has the power to grant amnesty to Steven Sotloff, the mother said.

“I ask you to please release my child,” she said.

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.

Out of public view, the family and a number of government agencies have been trying to gain Sotloff’s release for the past year.

Sotloff, 31, grew up in South Florida with his mother, father and younger sister. He majored in journalism at the University of Central Florida. His personal Facebook page lists musicians like the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Miles Davis and movies like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Big Lebowski” as favorites. On his Twitter page, he playfully identifies himself as a “stand-up philosopher from Miami.”

In 2004, Sotloff left UCF and moved back to the Miami area.

He graduated from another college, began taking Arabic classes and subsequently picked up freelance writing work for a number of publications, including Time, Foreign Policy, World Affairs and the Christian Science Monitor. His travels took him to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey — among other countries — and eventually Syria.

The following is the full text of Shirley Sotloff’s video statement:

“I’m sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi … the caliph of the Islamic State.

“I am Shirley Sotloff. My son, Steven, is in your hands. Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants.

“Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He’s an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak.

“We’ve not seen Stephen for over a year, and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound and to hug him.

“Since Stephen’s capture, I’ve learned a lot about Islam. I’ve learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others.

“Stephen has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He’s an innocent journalist.

“I’ve always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.

“I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to set the example of the Prophet Mohammed, 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.”


  • Dan Meyers

    What is Obama doing about this? Every other President would have taken drastic measures. Obama plays golf.


    • B

      Actually I believe I read somewhere Obama was taking a break from golf, he’s giving his attention to “global climate change” at least for a day or two before returning to Marthas Vineyard. Maybe he will give this “JV Team” some attention when they hit the homeland, IF he’s not on vacation when it happens…
      I found it ironic the other day that Kerry was talking ISIS, and Obama has moved his interest to global climate change… What a leader our country selected, twice…..

    • SJAJR

      Lets play the bad president game. President (fill in name of hated president) was playing golf while (fill in significant event). I saw this with every president since I could remember.. Just because you said it does not make it any more relevant. The same can be said about vacations or trips overseas on vacations. Even presidents wives who are hated just because they are married to there hated husband can be fit into that game.

    • Dane Parker

      …And yet Obama’s vacation days as of his MV trip is only 30% that of Bush’s at the same point of the latter’s presidency. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of that burnin’ Southern rage. Nor, I take it, are we to pay attention to the cognitive dissonance of a position that spends oodles of time not even wanting Obama to (be able to) do anything.

    • TruthLivesHere

      Barry O. has already admitted he has no strategy for ISIS (that’s a shocker isn’t it ?). But on the brighter side, if he’s playing golf at least he’s not making stupid statements or doing idiotic things that further cement his incompetence to the rest of the world.

  • yahia

    isis is undoubtedly CIA made together with Bashar’s and Al-Malki’s inteligence as well as the Iranians. No Moslem in the world agrees with this malicious nasty fools of ISIS. They do not represent Islam at all. I blame strongly all Islamic scholars in the Arab world and Islamic countries for not revealing this fact: Islam is absolutely against killing any innocent people, journalists included. Islam is completely innocent and has nothing to do with these terrorists who are either idiots and explain Islamic texts according to what their concealed advocates want just to distort the image of Islam. Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. i particularly blame Al-Qardawi and the international Union of Islamic Scholars and Al- Azhar officials in Cairo.

  • Teresa

    His name is spelled “Steven” NOT “Stephen.”
    To the author of this article, have some respect AND do your job properly.

  • michael

    they have rejected the rules of war and the Geneva convention. they should pay the price. it has been the way of war since the beginning of time. bring back the b-52’s and carpet bomb them. it seems heartless, but they have to be eliminated. they will do the same to us. at least we have the tech advantage now. don’t wait and see. listed to Patton and general Schwartzkopf. the wait and seers will screw you every time in a time of crisis. we should have gone all the way to Damascus the first time around. in desert storm. there is going to be bloodshed, so let us come out on top while we can.

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