A day after American journalist James Foley was beheaded in a video released by the terrorist group ISIS, President Obama delivered a statement on Foley’s death, saying that the world was “appalled” at Foley’s brutal murder.
Watch the video of the statement above and read the transcript below:
Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away. He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria and he was courageously reported at the time on the conflict there. Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world. He was 40 years old, one of 5 siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release. Earlier today I spoke to the Foleys and told them we are all heartbroken at their loss and join them in honoring Jim in all he did. Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers.
Let’s be clear about ISIL: They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can’t, for no other reason than that they practice a different religion.
They’ve declared their ambition to genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to murder innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no single ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of expediency that they’re at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but endless slavery to their empty vision. The collapse of any definition of civilized behavior. People like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by people who build and not destroy. The future is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.
The terrorist who beheaded Foley said the group would kill another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, if the U.S. didn’t stop the air strikes it has been conducting in an effort to dismantle ISIS.
But Obama vowed that the U.S. would not change course:
The United States of America will continue to what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we’ll do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and when act against ISIL standing alongside others. The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL, must continue together to expel these terrorists from their communities. The story Jim Foley told does not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists. They have our support and their support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity. From governments and people across the Middle East, there has to be an effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.