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Sotloff family respond to ISIS killers with grace

sotloff vigil
Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

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Last night CNN broadcast a message from the parents of Steven Sotloff to the slayers of their son:

Today, we grieve. This week, we mourn. But we will emerge from this ordeal ... We will not allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the sole weapons they possess, fear.

After days of silence following the execution U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS, family spokesman Bara Bari had a question for the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It was the same plea contained in a video from Sotloff's mother last week.

Where is your mercy?

Speaking in Arabic to ISIS and presumably to the entire Islamic world, Barfi said, “Wayluk,” an Arabic phrase admonishing the listener of their great sin. He continued from a prepared statement.

I am here debating you with kindness. I don't have a sword in my hand, and I am ready for your answer.

Unlike its predecessor al-Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL is well-armed, well-funded, and media savvy. On Tuesday, the believed same spokesman for the execution of U.S. journalist James Foley demonstrated the Islamic State’s deftness in exploiting social media with the broadcast of the beheading Steven Sotloff. He was sending a direct message to President Obama for stepped-up airstrikes in Iraq.

I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy toward the Islamic State," the executioner says. "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.

But Barack Obama had a message Wednesday for ISIS during a news conference in Estonia.

Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget ... that our reach is long and that justice will be served.

Thursday is exactly one week before the anniversary of 9/11. It is also seven days before Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Unbeknown to his captors, Steven Sotloff was a devote Jew with dual citizenship. His Islamic kidnappers failed to discover during the year Sotloff was held that he was also a citizen of Israel.

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