Interview with Judea and Ruth Pearl- The pragmatic fight against evil

As the online video of an ISIS militant’s murder of American freelance journalist James Foley went viral on the Internet last week, the gruesome scene recalled another journalist’s murder more than 12 years ago. In 2002, al-Qaida member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed killed Daniel Pearl, an accomplished foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Pearl had thought he would be meeting an interview source in Karachi, Pakistan, but instead was targeted for being a Jew.

He did not die in vain. As soon as his parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, and sisters, Tamara and Michelle, learned about Danny’s murder, they turned their sorrow into an effort to promote peace and understanding by creating the Daniel Pearl Foundation. In addition to a global network of concerts on the theme of “Harmony for Humanity,” they support U.S. fellowships for Muslim journalists from the Middle East and South Asia, who come here to work in newsrooms in the United States, including spending a week at this Jewish newspaper.  

The Pearls spoke with the Journal at their Encino home about their continuing work with the foundation, the resonance for them of Foley’s murder, and their views and experiences of the Muslim world today.

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Tyler Rosen