WASHINGTON: Top US diplomat John Kerry revealed yesterday that he was working to forge a global coalition to fight the “medieval savagery” of Islamist militants terrorising a swathe of Syria and Iraq and blamed for killing two journalists.
As US President Barack Obama called for an international front against the group known as the Islamic State (IS), US officials also revealed that two videos showing the beheadings of Steven Sotloff and James Foley were not filmed at the same time.
“The real face of Islam is not what we saw yesterday, when the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of ISIL terrorist murders,” the US secretary of state told a ceremony to honour the new special US envoy to Muslim communities.
Kerry called the 31-year-old Sotloff “a driven and courageous journalist,” saying he was killed by a “coward hiding behind a mask.” Having worked to try to bring Sotloff home safely, Kerry said his murder so soon on the heels of Foley’s beheading last month was “a punch to the gut”.
“The face of Islam is not the butchers that killed Steven Sotloff. That’s ISIL. It’s not masked cowards, whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity,” he insisted. “The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion, based on the dignity of all human beings.”
Kerry said he would travel further afield in the coming days seeking to win support for the coalition. In a rush of telephone diplomacy, he spoke on Tuesday with counterparts from Australia, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE.