In a solemn video appeal to their son’s captors, the parents of Peter Kassig have pleaded for his release.
Seen sitting side-by-side on a maroon sofa, the couple direct their carefully considered words to the camera and ask for mercy in the short three-minute film published on YouTube on Saturday.
No one else is seen on the screen as Ed and Paula Kassig take it in turns to speak, both repeating the line same line: “we implore his captors to show mercy and use their power to let our son go”.
The appeal comes just a day after Peter appeared at the end of a video purportedly showing the killing of Salford taxi driver and father-of-two Alan Henning.
The couple refer to their son by name only once, calling him Abdul-Rahman “formerly known as Peter” and acknowledging his conversion to Islam.
His mother, revealed in the video to be a nurse who works with refugees, appears in a headscarf clutching a picture of her son, to whom she directs her words.
She speaks after her husband, saying: “Please know that we are all praying for you and your safe return.
“Most of all know that we love you and our hearts ache for you to be granted your freedom so we can hug you again and then set you free to continue the life you have chosen.
“The life of service to those in greatest need.”
Former US Amry Ranger Peter Kassig set up his own aid organisation, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA), after he was medically discharged from military service.
It was on October 1, 2013, that he was captured by IS while on route to eastern Syria.
Ed Kassig, a school teacher, talks about his son’s life and reveals that Peter was inspired to do humanitarian work from an early age and came from a long line of teachers and humanitarians.
“The driving force in our family has always been to serve others. Our son comes from two long lines of teachers and humanitarian workers,” he tells his son’s captors.
“Our family deplores all human suffering and the loss of innocent life, no matter who is responsible. We respond by trying to provide aid and assistance.
“Our son was living his life according to that same humanitarian call when he was taken captive.”
He also reveals that Peter had helped train 150 civilians in humanitarian skills such as providing food, cooking supplies, clothing and food to the needy.
He adds: “He grew to love and admire the Syrian people and felt at home there.”
See below for the full transcription.
(Ed Kassig speaking)
My name is Ed Kassig and this is my wife Paula. I’m a school teacher and my wife is a nurse who works with refugees.
Our son is Abdul-Rahmen, formerly known as Peter. He disappeared on October 1st of last year near Raqqa, Syria.
At an early age our son was inspired by his grandfather to do humanitarian work. When he saw the suffering of the Syrian people he went to Turkey and founded an organisation to provide aid and assistance.
He helped train 150 civilians in skills needed to provide medical aid to the people of Syria. His organisation gave food, cooking supplies, clothing and medicine to those in need. He grew to love and admire the Syrian people and felt at home there.
Our son’s journey culminated in him embracing Islam, sadly he was taken captive and is not free to continue his life’s work serving the people of the region.
The driving force in our family has always been to serve others. Our son comes from two long lines of teachers and humanitarian workers.
Our family deplores all human suffering and the loss of innocent life, no matter who is responsible. We respond by trying to provide aid and assistance.
Our son was living his life according to that same humanitarian call when he was taken captive.
We know that the Syrians are suffering. We also believe violence is not the solution to the problems that trouble us all.
There is so much that is beyond our control. We have asked our government to change its actions but like our son we have no more control over the US government than you have over the breaking of dawn.
We implore his captors to show mercy and use their power to let our son go.
(Paula Kassig speaking)
Dear son, we hope that you will see this message from me and your father. We are so very proud of you and the work you have done to bring humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
We were grateful and relieved to have received your messages earlier this year. We know you were very worried about your friend who was taken with you. He was released and is well.
Please know that we are all praying for you and your safe return.
Most of all know that we love you and our hearts ache for you to be granted your freedom so we can hug you again and then set you free to continue the life you have chosen. The life of service to those in greatest need.
We implore those who are holding you to show mercy and use their power to let you go.
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