Mother of American hostage reaches out to ISIS on Twitter

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By Lindy Thackston

INDIANAPOLIS -- The mother of American hostage Abdul-Rahman Kassig has sent a tweet directed toward the leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al Baghdadi trying to find out about her son.

"I am trying to get in touch with the Islamic State about my son's fate," she says in the tweet, which is a photograph of a letter written to al Baghdadi.

"I am an old woman, and Abdul Rahman is my only child.

"My husband and I are on our own, with no help from the government. We would like to talk to you. How can we reach you?"

Abdul-Rahman Kassig, whose given name is Peter, was detained on October 1, 2013 in eastern Syria while doing humanitarian work. ISIS has threatened to kill him next.

Hundreds gathered on Butler's campus Wednesday to pray for his release from ISIS, in a service organized by the local Muslim community.

Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known an Peter, was captured by ISIS in 2013 and recently presented as the group's latest target for beheading.

With a light shining over them, people from all walks of life and faiths prayed for his release.

"(We pray) that he will be released and we will all get to see him and embrace him," activist Omar Atia said.

Kassig was in Syria providing aid to refugees, after being drawn to the cause through aid work in Lebanon and forming his own non-profit, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA).

Among the crowd were Jim and Sheri Barnett, who knew Kassig as a kid in their Boy Scout troop.

"He wanted to earn everything he could possibly earn. He wanted to go above and beyond everybody else and do it all," Sheri Barnett said.

It was in that spirit of doing more that the message turned to the children of Syria, caught in conflict.

"Over one million Syrian children under the age of 11 have witnessed and been victims to the most brutal forms of violence," speaker and founder of Benga International Erin Lang said.

Kassig's parents released a statement, asking that you research and donate to a group helping those children. They declared Thursday a Day of Action in their son's honor, and asked people to use the Twitter hashtag #BeLikeAbdulRahman.

"Today was a Day of Prayer, and we felt your support. Let tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 9, be a Day of Action.

As evidenced by our son's story, our family doesn't just talk, we 'do.'

Many people have asked us how they can help. We ask that you honor our son by learning about the refugee crisis in Syria and the more than 1.5 million children who need the world's help. Some 3 million Syrians have had to flee their country, half of them children. Half of the nation's population have been forced out of their homes, some of them fleeing into neighboring countries and others relocating within Syria to safer places.

The humanitarian crisis is staggering and is the reason why Abdul-Rahman was drawn to the region. The population's needs have only gotten worse since he was taken into captivity a year ago. Please find a charity that is coming to the aid of the children who have been torn from their homes and their schools, and decide how you will help them.

This evening, local Muslim leaders Omar Atia, a civic leader, and Hazem Bata, executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, said that our son has inspired many people with his selfless act to go halfway across the world to help people in need. We ask you to be like Abdul-Rahman in the coming days.

Tell us what you are doing to help the children of Syria, using the hashtag #BeLikeAbdulRahman.

Information about the Syrian crisis:

http://www.unicefusa.org/mission/emergencies/conflict/syria

http://unhcr.org/FutureofSyria/"

The crowd appealed for Kassig's release to go back to the work he so loved, speaking at times directly to his captors.

"God is merciful. God is forgiving. We ask that his captors be equally forgiving," said Hazem Bata, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America.

To learn more about Kassig's cause, go to this Twitter page run by the Kassig family.