Shirley Sotloff: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Shirley Sotloff is the mother of kidnapped U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff. She has made an emotional video appeal to her son’s captors, begging them to release Steven Sotloff. Her plea comes a week after the execution video of James Foley was uploaded online by ISIS.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. She Made a Direct Appeal to the Leader of ISIS

Sotloff didn’t send a generic plea to ISIS as a group but rather to the terror-leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini. She says in the emotional video:

I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands. You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.

2. She Has Recognized the Authority of al-Baghdadi


The flag of ISIL. (WikiMedia)

The New York Times notes that Sotloff, in referencing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “caliph,” is the first non-Muslim to acknowledge his authority.

3. Sotloff’s Case Received Very Little Publicity

Steve Sotloff Facebook

Sotloff’s video ends the media blackout that the Department of State had told Steven Sotloff’s family to undergo. There had been fears that the more publicity his case received, the more danger he would be in. Steven’s sister, Lauren, posted this on virtual code on her Facebook page upon learning of her brother’s kidnapping:

The family have also started a White House petition demanding everything be done to free Steven Sotloff.

4. She’s a Teacher

Shirley Sotloff works as teacher in the Miami-area, according to CBS 4. The Sotloff family lives in Pinecrest in the city.

5. She’s Been Reading Up on Islam

Steven Sotloff Mother Video

In the video, Shirley Sotloff indicates that she has been studying Islam in her attempts to understand her son’s captors. She says in the video that the Koran indicates “no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others.” Shirley adds, “Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government.” Later in the video, she also states:

I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad, who protected People of the Book.