The family of slain American journalist Steven Sotloff broke their silence today, saying through a spokesperson that Sotloff was not a "war junkie" but "merely wanted to give a voice to those who have none."
Barak Barfi, a family spokesperson and close personal friend of Sotloff's, said the writer was torn between choosing a comfortable life in the U.S. and his desire to travel to the embattled region. His on-the-ground work appeared in international publications like TIME and Foreign Policy.
"Steve was no hero. Like all of us, he was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness," Barfi said. "He ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world... He had a gentle soul that this world will be without."
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The family also said they would not "allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the one weapon they possess: fear."
Barfi then spoke heatedly in Arabic, daring Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to a debate on the tenets of Islam.
A video uploaded earlier this week appeared to show the execution of Sotloff at the hands of an ISIS fighter. The week before, Sotloff's mother, Shirley, made her own personal plea to al-Baghdadi, asking for him to have mercy on her "child."
Today the family said they are grieving, but will "emerge from this ordeal."
"Our village is strong," Barfi said on the family's behalf.
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Steven Sotloff 'A Mere Man Who Tried to Find Good': Family