Thank you to Religious News Service for printing this information in the blog by Cathy Lynn Grossman.
From the RNS blog:
Now we know. Steven Sotloff, slaughtered by Islamic State radicals like his fellow journalist James Foley, was also, like Foley, a man of faith. Jewish, to be specific. His grandparents were Holocaust survivors. But his religion and his dual American-Israeli citizenship were kept quiet until after his murder because his family had hoped to avoid making his captivity even more dangerous.
His Miami family’s spokesman added to their statement, switching from English to Arabic to say, “Steve died a martyr for the sake of God.” But RNS’ Brian Pellot in his blog On Freedom says Sotloff and Foley, a prayerful Catholic, died for freedom, not faith, and hence are not religious martyrs.
These radical killers are actually “a disgrace to true fundamentalism,” says London-based Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalyst and social theorist, in New York Times Op-ed. He calls them “terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the nonbelievers.”
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I disagree with Brian Pellot: James Foley and Steven Sotloff are indeed religious martyrs because they died doing the work to which God was calling them, risking their lives for others to have information about the war in Syria.