Parents of slain Hoosier ISIS captive deliver statement regarding son’s death

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INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 17, 2014) – The parents of a Hoosier killed by ISIS spoke publicly Monday.

Ed and Paula Kassig, parents of Abdul-Rahman Kassig (formerly known as Peter), spoke at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd., Indianapolis. They’re expected to make a brief statement and will not take any questions.

A video uploaded on social media networks this weekend showed a mass beheading of Kassig and captured Syrian soldiers. U.S. officials later confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

The statement delivered to the media Monday can be found below:

“Greater love hath no man than this:  than to lay down his life for another,” said Ed Kassig.

"A while ago, we were informed that our beloved son, Abdul-Rahman, no longer walks this earth," said Ed Kassig, "Our hearts, though heavy, are held up by the love and support that has poured into our lives these last few weeks."

One of Abdul-Rahman’s teachers, the mother of some of his friends,  wrote before his slaying,

“If a person can be both a realist and an idealist, then that’s Peter.  Peter has earned the right to be both.  In 26 years, he has witnessed and experienced first hand more of the harsh realities of life than most of us can imagine.  But, rather than letting the darkness overwhelm him, he has chosen to believe in the good – in himself and in others…. Peter’s life is evidence that he’s been right all along; one person can make a difference. “

"Our hearts are battered, but they will mend.  The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end.  And good will prevail as the One God of many names will prevail," said Paula Kassig.

"Please pray for Abdul-Rahman, or Pete if that is how you knew him, at sunset this evening. Pray also for all people held against their will in Syria, Iraq, and around the world," said Ed Kassig.

"Lastly, please allow our family the time and privacy to mourn, cry--- and yes, forgive--- and begin to heal."

His parents released a written statement after learning of their son’s death:

“We are heartbroken to learn that our son, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, has lost his life as a result of his love for the Syrian people and his desire to ease their suffering. Our heart also goes out to the families of the Syrians who lost their lives, along with our son.

“Fed by a strong desire to use his life to save the lives of others, Abdul-Rahman was drawn to the camps that are filled with displaced families and to understaffed hospitals inside Syria. We know he found his home amongst the Syrian people, and he hurt when they were hurting.

“As he wrote in March 2012, in a letter announcing he was taking a leave of absence from Butler University to serve the Syrian people:

‘Here, in this land, I have found my calling. … I do not know much. Every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference.’

“We are incredibly proud of our son for living his life according to his humanitarian calling. We will work every day to keep his legacy alive as best we can.

“We remain heartbroken, also, for the families of the other captives who did not make it home safely. The families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and Alan Henning remain in our daily thoughts and prayers, and we pray for the safe return of all remaining captives held by all sides of the Syrian civil war.

“We remain eternally grateful for the many, many words of support and prayers from all over the world on our son’s behalf. We ask people to continue to pray for the safe return of all captives being held unjustly and all people being oppressed around the world, and especially for the people of Syria, a land our son loved.”

Kassig, 26, graduated from Indianapolis’ North Central High School and attended Butler University. He also enlisted in the U.S. Army Rangers before forming a humanitarian group to help those affected by Syria's ongoing civil war. He was in Syria delivering medical supplies when he was captured by ISIS in October 2013.

The group named him as its next target for beheading in a video released in October. His parents pleaded with the group to spare their son’s life.

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