Foley’s parents call for prayer after meeting Pope

August 23, 2014 - 1:15:37 am

ROME/WASHINGTON: The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, yesterday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic State fighters.

“We do pray, we beg the international community to help the remaining hostages,” his mother, Diane Foley, said in an interview with her husband, John, on MSNBC. “We just pray that they will be set free.” Their plea comes after a long conversation with Pope Francis, who the Vatican said called the couple on Thursday afternoon to offer his condolences and support.

James Foley, who was abducted in Syria in late 2012, was beheaded by a masked member of the Islamic State group in an act filmed in a video released on Tuesday that also threatened a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

Foley’s parents said they drew “huge comfort” from their conversation with the pope, who himself was grieving the loss of relatives who died earlier this week in a car crash in Argentina.

A Vatican spokesman said he was able to speak at length with Diane and John Foley with the aid of a Spanish-speaking friend of the family. “It was a very long, intense conversation,” the spokesman said.

He said this week that Western countries would be justified in acting to stop the “unjust” aggression. She said love and compassion had drawn her son to cover the plight of the people in Syria, which has been embroiled in a violent conflict for the past several years. The couple also said they were establishing a fund in their son’s name and said they would continue to call for action from the international community.