Beheaded US journalist prayed Rosary in captivity

The American journalist shown being beheaded by Islamist extremists in a video prayed the Rosary during a previous kidnapping in the Middle East.

James Foley, 40, was the oldest of five children in a Catholic family in New Hampshire.

Working for the Global Post and AFP, he was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.

Commenting on his shocking killing, the Pope’s senior communications advisor Greg Burke pointed to an article wrote describing Mr Foley’s faith in captivity.

Mr Foley wrote for Marquette University, where he once studied, describing how his faith sustained him when he was previously kidnapped by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya in 2011.

After being in captivity for 45 days, Mr Foley wrote: “I prayed my mom would know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.

“I began to pray the Rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father.

“It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.

“Clare (my colleague) and I prayed together out loud. It felt energising to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.”

He wrote that prayer enabled his inner freedom.

After the Islamic State posted the video of Mr Foley’s murder online, his mother, Diane, wrote on the Free James Foley Facebook page: “We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages.”

“Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

“We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.”

Mr Foley’s family was visited by their parish priest on August 19, who left without speaking to reporters.

Islamic State has threatened to kill other kidnapped journalists unless the US stops airstrikes against their forces in Iraq.

US President Barack Obama said that “no just God” would stand for what the jihadists had done.

“ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day,” he said.


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