The Kassigs repeatedly appealed to ISIS to spare their son, who had begun converting to Islam before he was captured in Syria in October 2013. They said his conversion was a sincere process. The family plans a joint Muslim-Christian memorial service for their son, a family spokeswoman said.
Kassig, who briefly served in Iraq in 2007 in the U.S. Army, returned to the Middle East in 2012 for a spring break trip while studying political science, his family said.Moved by the suffering of Syrian refugees, Kassig went to Lebanon to volunteer as an emergency medical technician, then founded an aid organization to provide food and medical supplies to refugees and first aid training to civilians in Syria, where some 200,000 people have died and millions are displaced.
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