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Hoosier Abdul-Rahman Kassig remembered two years after death at hands of Islamic State in Syria

Posted at 1:44 PM, Nov 16, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two years ago Wednesday, the White House confirmed that Army veteran and Hoosier Abdul-Rahman Kassig had been killed by Islamic State militants holding him captive in Syria.

Kassig, a Butler University student and Indianapolis native, was captured while providing medical aid to Syrians through a group he founded called Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA).

He was held captive for months in the town of Dabiq, in northern Syria. While in captivity, Kassig, born Peter Kassig, wrote to friends and family that he had converted to Islam. He changed his name to Abdul-Rahman in accordance with his new faith.

Above: A photograph of Abdul-Rahman Kassig provided by his family.

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Prior to his death, Kassig wrote a letter to his family saying he was at peace with his belief, and hoping that they could find comfort knowing he died "as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need."

On Tuesday, Kassig's family posted a portion of a letter he wrote to a memorial Facebook page they maintain in his memory.

The letter urges people to overcome their differences and to change the world.

Last month, after two years under Islamic State control, the town of Dabiq where Kassig was held captive was recaptured by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army rebels.

Before his capture, Kassig, who served as an Army Ranger before attending Butler University, wrote his parents a letter about his decision to take a leave of absence from college to provide aid in Syria. Following his death, the Kassig family released a portion of that letter, excerpted below:

"Here, in this land, I have found my calling. … I do not know much. Every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference."