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Sotloff Family Rep Challenges ISIS Leader to Debate

Says slain journalist wasn't a 'war junkie' or a hero, just a 'mere man'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2014 6:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The family of Steven Sotloff has broken its silence in the wake of the journalist's execution with a message equal parts tribute and defiance. Sotloff was neither a "war junkie" nor a "hero," says family spokesman Barak Barfi. "He was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness." Sotloff wanted to "give voice to those who had none," and he ultimately died doing so. Barfi also spoke in Arabic and challenged the leader of the Islamic State, or ISIS, to a debate on Islam, reports ABC News.

Elsewhere in his statement, Barfi paid tribute to James Foley, the journalist executed two weeks ago, reports NBC News. "Like Steve, he suffered, but his jailers never broke him," Barfi says. "He was an inspiration to others in that dark prison far from this country's freedoms." Earlier, Foley's mother told NECN that "we are just heartbroken" for the Sotloffs and asked Americans to support them as strongly as they have her family. The Sotloffs are indeed grieving, says Barfi, but they "will emerge from this ordeal." The family will not "allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the one weapon they possess: fear." (Joe Biden says the US will chase ISIS to the "gates of Hell.")

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