(NBC News) – In a statement, President Obama calls the beheading of aid worker Peter Kassig an “act of pure evil.”
He changed his name to Abdul-Rahman after converting to Islam.
The former army ranger was captured by ISIS while delivering humanitarian supplies in Syria last year.
Kassig wrote a letter that said in part, “Don’t worry, Dad. If I go down, I won’t go down thinking anything but what I know to be true, that you and Mom love me more than the moon and the stars.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calls Kassig an “inspiration to us all.” “He tried to give back to the world. And he cared very deeply and loved the world he was in,” said Butler University Professor, Dr. Margaret Brabant.
American Muslims are concerned about how ISIS is recruiting their youth. “They are hunting for young people who cannot logically analyze things correctly so they make them believe it’s the right thing,” said Dr. Shaker Rashid, Alhuda Foundation Imam.
Kassig’s execution has stirred the debate over whether the U.S. should go after ISIS with ground troops. “I think the President’s wrong in saying that under no circumstances will he consider ground troops,” said Former Gov. Mitt Romney, (R) Massachusetts.
“I think we learned a lesson and paid a bitter price when we put troops on the ground on a long-term basis in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Senator Dick Durbin/ (D) Illinois