Peter Kassig: Parents release letter from captive son
Peter Kassig’s parents have released a letter he has written in captivity.
Peter Edward Kassig, 26, is an American hostage who is being held by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria.
He converted to Islam in 2013, changing his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Abdul-Rahman Kassig wrote in June 2014 that he was “scared to die” and saddened by the pain his ordeal was causing to the family.
Last week ISIS posted a video showing the killing of British hostage Alan Henning. The video ended with a threat to kill Peter Kassig.
It was the fourth such video released by ISIS, which controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq.
Previous victims were American reporter James Foley, American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.
ISIS said they were killed in retaliation for US-led air strikes on the group’s targets.
Peter Kassig’s parents, Ed and Paula Kassig, said they had decided to release excerpts from their son’s letter “so the world can understand why we and so many people care for him and admire him”.
“We want to send our heartfelt thanks to the many people around the world who have offered their prayers and support to our family at this difficult time, and especially to those who know our son and worked with him in Lebanon, Turkey or Syria. We are overwhelmed by the response from those who consider Abdul-Rahman a hero for the work he was doing before he was taken captive.”
In the letter, Abdul-Rahman Kassig wrote: “I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all.
“I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through.
“If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need.
“In terms of my faith, I pray every day and I am not angry about my situation in that sense.”
The letter – which the parents received on June 2 – ends with the words: “I love you.”
Peter Kassig’s parents said he had been working for the relief organization he founded, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA), when he was captured on his way to Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria in 2013.
In a statement they said their son’s “journey toward Islam” had begun before he was taken captive but they understood he had converted voluntarily late last year while sharing a cell with a devout Muslim.
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