The father of a young American woman taken hostage by the Islamic State condemned the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation for stripping their “American Hostage Freedom Award” from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an interview with The Daily Caller.
He also expressed his profound dismay at the partisan hatred that has seemingly crept into every facet of American society.
Carl Mueller’s daughter, Kayla Mueller, was a young Christian woman from Prescott, Arizona, who “was drawn to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees,” according to her family. After graduating college in 2009, Kayla worked with humanitarian aid groups in India, Israel and Palestinian territories. Her plan to work in Africa changed when civil war broke out in Syria, and in 2012 Kayla moved to southern Turkey, where she worked with Support to Life and the Danish Refugee Council to aid those fleeing the conflict.
Kayla was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 2013 by ISIS militants, who ambushed her vehicle as she left a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo. For 18 months, she was held hostage and reportedly abused personally by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Refusing to convert to Islam during her imprisonment, those who were imprisoned with her claimed that she clung to her Christian faith, even defending it to the notoriously brutal “Jihadi John.”
ISIS claimed that Kayla was killed during coalition airstrikes in early 2015, at the age of 26. Though it confirmed her death, the U.S. government reached no official conclusion regarding the cause of it, and her parents remain unsure of her ultimate fate.
Carl and his wife, Marsha, traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier in the week to attend the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation Awards Dinner, named for the journalist who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014. They also met with Pompeo, who was originally slated to receive an award from the organization for his work to release American hostages worldwide. The foundation later rescinded the award because of pressure from media groups that paid up to $50,000 for a table, according to knowledgeable sources who spoke with The Washington Examiner.
The foundation’s executive director, Margaux Ewen, nevertheless maintained in a Friday statement that such claims were “mischaracterized,” and that the award was revoked because of the Trump administration’s response to the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ewen’s statement said, in part, that “while it is accurate that our foundation intended to present our hostage freedom award to Secretary Pompeo until [Jan. 11], we ultimately decided we could not present the award as planned due to the dramatic change in circumstances when the administration did not press for genuine accountability from the Saudi government for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
“In addition to advocating for the safe return of American hostages abroad, the protection of free speech and promotion of journalists’ safety is a key pillar of our foundation and this award would have been in conflict with that key principle,” Ewen added.
Whatever the reason for the foundation’s decision, Mueller was so angered by the Freedom Awards Dinner that he “literally got up and left” after he “suffered through [keynote speaker Christiane Amanpour’s] little speech.” He believes Pompeo’s loss of the award “was all political” and driven by the liberal media’s hatred for President Donald Trump.
“It is sad that this kind of thing has worked its way into society—the hate for Republicans, mostly the hatred for Donald Trump,” Mueller said. “But it’s sad that it dictates to a fine foundation that’s trying to do good work and good things, but yet unfortunately bows to these journalists. They said they would boycott the event if Mr. Pompeo got the award. And the only reason I can see they would do that is because of their hatred of Donald Trump.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: The Daily Caller, Mike Brest and Jon Brown