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Mother Of American Held By ISIS Wants To Speak Personally With Terror Leader

Paula Kassig posted a message on Twitter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. She said the U.S. government had not helped in the case of her hostage son.

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The mother of a 26-year-old American man held hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) posted a message on Twitter Wednesday asking to speak personally with the head of the terrorist group.

A Letter from Abdul-Rahman Kassig's Mother to IS Caliph Al Baghdadi

Paula Kassig@PaulaKassigFollow

A Letter from Abdul-Rahman Kassig's Mother to IS Caliph Al Baghdadi

11:22 PM - 08 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Abdul Rahman Kassig, who changed his first name from Peter after converting to Islam, has been held captive since Oct. 1, 2013. He had been working to provide aid to Syrian refugees at the time and previously served in Iraq as an Army Ranger.

ISIS on Friday released a video showing the brutal execution of British aid worker Alan Henning. A masked man then threatened to kill Kassig, who was seen kneeling next to him.

On Wednesday, Paula Kassig posted on Twitter a message to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, addressing the ISIS leader as Caliph and asking to speak with him. A source confirmed to BuzzFeed News the account was authentic.

"I am an old woman, and Abdul Rahman is my only child," she wrote. "My husband and I are on our own, with no help from the government."

She and her husband, Ed Kassig, previously released a video asking for mercy for their son.

The White House has pledged to "use every tool at our disposal — military, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence — to try to bring Peter home to his family."

The Kassigs are not the first family of an ISIS hostage to be critical of the U.S. government.

Last month, a spokesman for the family of slain journalist Steven Sotloff said the family had a strained relationship with U.S. officials. Barak Barfi said hostages were pawns of administration infighting, and officials did not provide the help or information to family members they could have.


The Kassigs also released new video pleas of Muslim friends who knew their son in Syria. In accordance with strict interpretations of Islam, faces were blurred.

View this video on YouTube

"I've known Abdul Rahman for a long time, he would wake up early every morning and train many people how to do first aid," the speaker says. "He lived with us at home and shared our happiness and he shared our sorrow, and he even fasted during the month of Ramadan without us asking.

"We didn't even tell him to fast, he did it by himself even before he converted to Islam just to show us that he was a compassionate person.

"My message to the state: Please give him his freedom because he deserves it."

View this video on YouTube

"Abdul Rahman is a human, Abdul Rahman is a friend, Abdul Rahman is a brother, Abdul Rahman is a Muslim," another video says. "We will never forget his aid work to those who were injured. Freedom for Abdul Rahman."

Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at

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