By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
The tragic murder of Steven Joel Sotloff has given us greater insight into the world that ISIS inhabits.
Satloff's mother made an appeal to the head of ISIS after the brutal murder of James Foley. She appealed to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. In addressing the mastermind behind the beheading, Mrs. Sotloff used Muslim terms and emphasized Muslim values. She referred to Baghdadi in the most respectful of ways, even using his self appointed title -- Caliph.
At the time, I was struck by the nature of her plea and thought that whoever had advised her knew Arabic society and had determined that this was the only possible chance a mother had to save her son.
Now, in the aftermath of both horrific murders, we know that one of the family's spokespeople, Barak Barfi, actually challenged Baghdadi to a debate about Islam and Islamic ideals especially about mercy and peace.
Here is what Barfi laid out in his challenge:
"I have a message to Abu Bakr,"
"You said Ramadan is a mon
th of mercy but where is your mercy? You speak of Islam and the Holy Koran but I know the Koranic verses."
"Abu Bakr, I am ready to debate you"
"I come in peace, I don't have a sword in my hand, I am ready for your answer."
Barfi understood that Baghdadi would not entertain his request for debate. Barfi is really speaking to the rest of the Arabic world, not to Baghdadi. He is saying these barbaric acts are hardly the acts of a true Muslim.
Barfi is calling Baghdadi a heretic, a man who takes parts of Islam and exploits it for his own purpose.
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