He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person

The mother of American journalist James Foley, who was purportedly beheaded by Islamic militants, said on Tuesday her son gave his life to expose the suffering of the Syrian people and she asked his kidnappers to release their other captives.

"He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person," Diane Foley said in a post on a Facebook page set up by the Foley family.

"We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world," Diane Foley said in the statement.

Foley was a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

"Journalists face threats in many forms as they try to report difficult stories that need to be told, but the attack on Jim was barbaric," Northwestern said in a statement. "It was, in a larger sense, an attack on freedoms necessary in a civilized society and across strained cultures. Jim endures for us as a beacon reminding us of the risks implicit in shedding light where inhumanity can take hold."

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