"Is it a fact?"
That was the simple question GetReligion asked back in October after The New York Times reported that Islamic State beheading victim James Foley — an avowed Catholic — made a "sincere" conversion to Islam before his death.
Four months later, we revisited the issue when the Times produced an in-depth piece seriously exploring Foley's faith and asking many of the questions that its first story failed to acknowledge. We noted that the second piece linked to GetReligion's post questioning the original report.
Now, the Times is facing more heat for its handling of Foley's faith — this time from the victim's brother. The newspaper's public editor, Margaret Sullivan, addresses the issue in her Sunday column.
I was drawn into this subject when I received a letter in February from Michael Foley, the younger brother of James Foley, an American journalist in Syria kidnapped in 2012. Last summer, he was the first of the Americans held hostage by ISIS to be murdered, his beheading recorded in a horrific video seen worldwide.
Michael Foley contends that Times articles portrayed his brother inaccurately — particularly when they depicted him as an enthusiastic convert to Islam and as someone who had been repeatedly waterboarded and routinely beaten. He also takes issue with the description of American and British hostages being singled out for extra abuse. Those things aren’t true, he says, and The Times should correct the record.