Meet The American War Veteran Who May Become Jihadi Johnny’s Latest Victim


October 3, 2014 3:28pm PST

As we previously reported, ISIS released a new video on Friday that showed Jihadi Johnny beheading Alan Henning, a British aid worker.

The footage also revealed ISIS’s latest hostage, an American war veteran named Peter Kassig. Kassig, 26, is an Indianapolis native who was deployed to Iraq in 2007.


After he finished his military service, Kassig started a non-profit called Special Emergency Response and Assistance. SERA supplies Syrian war refugees with supplies such as blankets and cooking equipment.

“I did not meet a single man, woman or child who could not muster a smile and a message of strength and hope that was nothing short of earth-shatteringly humbling,” Kassig said of his work there.

After his time in Iraq in 2007, Kassig was honorably discharged for medical reasons. He returned home, attended Baylor University, and even got married in 2011, but something didn’t feel right.

“I was going to school with kids who look the same, were the same age as me, but we weren’t the same,” he said in an interview. “I wanted more of a challenge, a sense of purpose.”

Kassig divorced his wife and made a life-changing decision: he went to Pakistan to volunteer in refugee camps there.

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“I needed to make a drastic decision,” he said. “It was a huge identity thing; it was time to re-evaluate. I needed a game-changer.”

“We each get one life and that’s it,” Kassig added. “We got one shot at this and we don’t get any do-overs, and for me, it was time to put up or shut up. The way I saw it, I didn’t have a choice. This is what I was put here to do. I guess I am just a hopeless romantic, and I am an idealist, and I believe in hopeless causes.”

Since then, Kassig has been in Syria starting his non-profit and keeping it running. It is unclear when exactly ISIS kidnapped him, but it must have been fairly recently.

The sad irony of Kassig being held hostage by violent extremists is that he had grown into a peaceful person who abhorred violence of any kind.

“Sometimes rebels want to know if I will help train people or if I will join the fight. I always tell them no,” he said. “It is of course not that I do not feel terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria, but … for an American young man in my position that would be foolish, and regarded as such by pretty much everyone, including the opposition.”

“I can either be in a position to deliver tens of thousands of dollars of antibiotics for women and children, or I can be another young man with a gun.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kassig and his family at this time.

H/T: New York Daily News




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