Daniel Pearl’s death at hands of militants prompted push for tolerance
By Kevin Butler, Staff writer
Long Beach Press Telegram, Nov. 29, 2006


NORWALK – The father of slain U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl on Tuesday said that his son’s death at the hands of Islamic militants has made him a symbol of tolerance and the dangers of religious hatred.


Addressing students and members of the public at Cerritos College, Judea Pearl talked about the life of his son and the work of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which aims to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music and dialogue.


The Wall Street Journal reporter was tracing the steps of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid in 2002 when he was kidnapped and later killed in Karachi by an Islamic militant group.


The group distributed a video of Pearl’s gruesome killing that was shown on Arab television and made available on the Internet.


Pearl, a computer science professor at UCLA, said that the killers’ actions backfired by showing the world the contrast between Pearl’s humanity and the militants’ barbarity.


Rather than seek vengeance for his son’s death, Pearl instead has worked to foster understanding among Muslims, Jews and others, he said.


“We will win, and humanity will prevail and barbarity will be defeated,” he said.


His son, whom Pearl said was a “walking sunshine of truth, humor, insight and humanity,” has become a symbol for tolerance and respect.


“It is only through diversity that we can recognize our common humanity,” Pearl told the audience.


The foundation provides Muslim journalists opportunities to work in the United States, organizes music festivals and holds interfaith dialogues.


Pearl’s speech, which was broadcast live over the Internet, was organized by the college’s Global History Society and its Global Consortium.


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Kevin Butler can be reached at kevin.butler@presstelegram.com or (562) 499-1308.