“I’m back, Obama, because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings,” the English-accented executioner says as he holds a knife to Sotloff’s neck. “Our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
Then, as the reporter struggles to get off his knees, the killer starts sawing at his neck with a knife.
Sotloff’s mother, Shirley, last week pleaded with ISIS’ leadership to spare her son.
“He’s an innocent journalist,” she said in a videotaped address to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi that was broadcast on the Al Arabiya network. Addressing the murderous ISIS chief as “the caliph of the Islamic State,” the Florida mom said, “My son, Steven, is in your hands. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to set the example of the Prophet Muhammed, who protected ‘People of the Book,'” she said, referring to a Muslim term for Jews and Christians.
‘”I want what every mother wants: to live to see her children’s children. I plead with you to grant me this.”
Steven Sotloff’s death comes on the heels of the brutal killing of his colleague James Foley by what is assumed to be the same executioner.
The Daily News reports that the masked murderer, who speaks British English, is thought to be John, “one of a trio of British-born militants who have been dubbed the Killer Beatles.” That’s some awfully grim humor.
When I heard the news, I suddenly remembered the landmark speech that President Obama gave in Cairo five years ago, in which he reverently quoted from the Qur’an:
“Whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”
That’s one pretty passage, isn’t it? So full of humanity and respect for life.
Now, let’s look at the full Qur’anic verse, and thereby at the context of that nicey-nice one-liner. In none of the translations that I checked does the Qur’an use the word innocent, but instead the word person; and then it specifies that “persons” (more to the point, “Children of Israel,” or Jews) may indeed be killed for “manslaughter or for mischief in the land.”
And can you guess what constitutes such “mischief”? It is to deny the “clear signs” provided by Allah’s messengers. In other words, infidels may be butchered.
As the humanist historian and writer Luis Granados reminds us,
The next verse prescribes the punishment for those who make “mischief in the land” by opposing Muhammad: “They should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides.”
Back in Cairo, President Obama also noted:
Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace
At this point, that seems to me to be as demonstrably wrong as it is to throw around falsified quotes.
I wish we could indeed pander our way to peace. With death-crazed fundamentalists, that plan always had zero chance.