Speaking at the Edgartown School early Wednesday afternoon, President Obama condemned the execution of Jim Foley, an American journalist who was abducted in northwest Syria in 2012.
“Today the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley,” the president said during a short statement. “Jim was a journalist, son, brother, and a friend who reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.”
A video released by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Tuesday depicts Mr. Foley's beheading. The video was accompanied by the threat of further violence against freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who has been missing since 2013.
Mr. Obama said he spoke on the phone earlier Wednesday morning with Mr. Foley’s parents, who live in New Hampshire.
“Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” Mr. Obama said, condemning ISIL’s attacks on cities and villages, and its killing and brutal treatment of innocent civilians. He pointed out that ISIL targets Christians and other religious minorities, and that the majority of its victims are Muslims.
“So ISIL speaks for no religion,” he said. “No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”
“People like this ultimately fail,” he said. “They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy, and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.”
He called on the Iraqi people to “continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities,” and pledged to continue supporting the people of Syria “in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.”
“Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday,” Mr. Obama said. “And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.”