James Foley and Steven Sotloff, two American journalists murdered by ISIS in 2014, were awarded the Daniel Pearl Award by the Anti-Defamation League on Friday. The award is named in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.
Diane Foley, the mother of James Foley, and Shirley and Arthur Sotloff, the parents of Steven Sotloff, accepted the awards on behalf of their sons. Sotloff, who held dual American-Israeli citizenship, was kidnapped in Syria while freelancing for Time magazine and other publications. He was raised in Miami’s Jewish community and later went to college in Israel.
“Though an ardent believer in and observer of his faith, Steven nevertheless held that all religions are equal in their claim to God and salvation,” Shirley Sotloff said. “One reason he chose the Middle East was to better understand Islam. He disliked the distorted view of the religion presented by our media. Steven always believed the best way to learn about something was to see it up close.”
ISIS murdered Foley, a photojournalist, in late August after holding him hostage for nearly two years. “Jim and Steven were both very courageous journalists, like Daniel Pearl,” Diane Foley said. “They are our heroes, they are my heroes, and I thank you all for recognizing their sacrifice.”
Foley was the first hostage beheaded by ISIS; Sotloff was similarly murdered weeks later. The group released videos online depicting the kidnapped journalists’ beheadings, the first of many such videos which shocked the international community and ultimately led to a U.S.-led airstrike on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Tal Trachtman Alroy is an intern at Tablet.