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University holds prayer vigil for American held by Islamic State

Thursday, October 09, 2014 - 00:38

Butler University in Indianapolis holds a prayer vigil for Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter Kassig, the American held hostage by Islamic State militants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) More than 200 people, many wearing white as a sign of peace, gathered on an Indiana university campus on Wednesday to pray for an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants. Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter Kassig, age 26, was threatened in a video issued last week by Islamic State militants that purported to show the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, age 47. "Absolutely a brave young man to do what he has done. He's absolutely a humanitarian," said Azher Khan, president of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana. Kassig had been a student at Butler University in Indianapolis, where nearly 250 people gathered in prayer with his friends and his parents, who did not speak to the crowd. Many in the audience wore white as a sign of peace as speakers talked of Kassig's humanitarian efforts and the plight of those he was helping Syria before his capture. "He's a medic so he makes a habit of going into danger zones and trying to help people out, so while everyone else is getting out, he is going in," Hazem Bata, the executive director of the Islamic Center of North America, said. Kassig's parents have said through a spokesperson that their son was doing humanitarian work through an organization he founded to treat refugees from Syria when he was taken captive on Oct. 1, 2013. Bata said Kassig's parents hoped the vigil would give attention to Syria as a whole as well. "They told us they didn't want the focus to just be their son. They wanted it to be on Syria generally and the suffering that they're going through and to me, that's very selfless," Bata said.

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University holds prayer vigil for American held by Islamic State

Thursday, October 09, 2014 - 00:38