ISIS Captive Abdul Rahman Kassig Presents a Dilemma
“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.”
These are the words of Abdul Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter, written in a letter smuggled out of prison to his parents in June of this year. Abdul Rahman who was kidnapped in October of 2013 appeared in the most recent ISIS video wherein Alan Henning appeared to be murdered.
The scenario unfortunately has become all too familiar. A masked man with a British accent and wielding a knife threatens the west. However this time it is different from the other times: the captive is Muslim. Another captive, a Syrian, who was released by ISIS revealed that Abdul Rahman accepted the faith sometime earlier this year. In his letter to his parents Abdul Rahman wrote:
“In terms of my faith, I pray everyday and I am not angry about my situation in that sense. I am in a dogmatically complicated situation here, but I am at peace with my belief.”
Abdul Rahman set up training centers to teach the Syrians how to treat their wounded who fell in battle or were the victims of the Assad regime’s barrel bomb attacks. He was very respected by both Islamic fighters and ordinary citizens in the Deir Ezzour territory where he operated in who all speak highly of him and whom were enraged to hear of his abduction.
Former French hostage Nicholas Henin who was once in captivity with Kassig said: “…For some guards…there would be more respect to those of us who had converted….But for other captors, I had the feeling that it made no difference… Peter told me about how important Islam was to him, how much it helped to overcome his situation in captivity. And he was a very dedicated Muslim.”
ISIS has a dilemma as executing Abdul Rahman would serve to alienate their support and cementing a growing belief that the Islamic state they are envisioning does not represent a land of safety for either Muslims or non Muslims. Muslims have raised their voices when others have committed injustice against them and they have shed their own blood to right the wrongs that were done to them. Abdul Rahman raised his voice and placed his safety on the line to help defend Muslims against injustice. Now he needs Muslims to help him so he can return safely to his family as he deserves.
I hope that everyone who believes in justice will not let his case go by unnoticed.