The parents of a US hostage who is being held by Islamic State militants in Syria, have released a letter he has written in captivity.
Abdul-Rahman Kassig, known as Peter Kassig before he converted to Islam, wrote in June that he was “scared to die” and saddened by the pain his ordeal was causing to the family.
The 26-year-old former U.S. Army Ranger was shown at the end of the IS video released last week that showed the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning, with a threat that Kassig would be the next killed in retaliation for US-led air strikes on the group.
Kassig’s parents said he had been working for the relief organisation he founded, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (Sera), when he was captured on his way to Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria on October 1 last year.
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.”
The text was edited to remove unspecified “sensitive information,” though his parents said all words were written by him.
In the letter, Abdul-Rahman Kassig wrote:
“The first thing I want to say is thank you. Both to you and mom for everything you have both done for me as parents; for everything you have taught me, shown me and experienced with me. I cannot imagine the strength and commitment it has taken to raise a son like me but your love and patience are things I am so deeply grateful for.
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 alleviate suffering and those in need.
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.
I wish this paper would go on forever and never run out and I could keep talking to you. Just know I’m with you. Every stream, every lake, every field and river. In the woods and in the hills, in all the places you showed me. I love you.”
“We believe violence is not the solution to the problems that trouble us all,” Kassig’s parents said. “There is so much that is beyond our control. “We have asked our government to change it’s actions, but like our son, we have no more control over the U.S. government than you have over the breaking of dawn. We implore his captors to show mercy, and use their power to let our son go.”