Many Roman Catholics saw journalist James Foley—who was kidnapped, tortured, and beheaded by ISIS—as a symbol of enduring faith under horrible circumstances. Then it came out that he had converted to Islam in captivity. Now what? "The answer is we can’t assess it," says a Jesuit preist who calls Foley "a good and holy man" but casts doubt on his conversion. "We cannot look at what is in someone’s soul." Foley's story is further complicated by his own apparent confusion, the New York Times reports. First kidnapped in Libya in 2011, Foley says he prayed with Muslim cellmates who opposed the Gadhafi government. After washing himself, he was told he had converted. "So, from then on out, I prayed with them five times a day," he says in a YouTube video.
"But it was difficult. I was thinking, 'Jesus, am I praying to Allah? Am I violating my belief in you?'" he adds. "I don’t have an answer to that. I just know that I was authentically with them, and I was authentically praying to Jesus." Kidnapped again in Syria in 2012, he converted to Islam in captivity and appeared sincere about it, freed hostages say. But people are debating whether Foley, once an altar boy in a Catholic family, converted for himself or his captors (as this GetReligion article attests). "I believe, much like in Libya, Jim 'converted' for the purpose of surviving," says one of his brothers. Pope Francis has apparently called Foley a martyr and says other Christian martyrs are being "tortured, massacred" today, ANSA reports. Yet Foley's mother, a Eucharistic minister, seems unsure: "Only God and Jim know what was going on in his heart," she says. (Read more Roman Catholic Church stories.)