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May 14, 2004 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-05-14

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Videotaped execution of U.S. Jew
raises questions about terror's targets.



Jewish Telegraphic Agency

New York


they knew he was Jewish," his father was
quoted saying. "If there was any doubt
that they were going to kill him, that
probably clinched it, I'm guessing."
His father also told reporters his son
routinely wore a tzitzit, or traditional
fringed undergarment, although he did-
n't wear it in public.
Sharona Shapiro, Michigan area direc-
tor of the American Jewish Committee,
said, in her mind, Berg's death is forever
linked to his Jewish background.
Steven Silverman, president of the
Jewish Community Council of

he world may never know
for sure if Nicholas Berg's
religion played a role in his
grisly execution at the hand
of terrorists in Iraq.
But many, including his family, are
speculating that it was a factor in the
terrorists' decision to kill the American
Jewish civilian who had gone to the
war-torn country in search of business.
A video that sur-
faced on the Internet
on May 11 showed
the decapitation by
masked Iraqis of Berg,
26, of West Chester,
The scene echoed
the 2002 murder in
Pakistan of Wall Street
Journal reporter
Daniel Pearl, who was
forced to admit his
Jevvishness on tape
just before his captors
cut off his head.
The killing raises
A family snapshot of slain U.S. civilian Nick Berg is taped
questions about
to a mailbox near the Berg family residence in West
whether a Jewish per-
Chester, Pa.
son — civilian or mil-
itary — is in any
graver danger than anyone else in such a Metropolitan Detroit, said, "The mur-
volatile region.
der of Nicholas Berg, a man who came
Shoshana Bryen, director of special
to Iraq voluntarily out of a humanitari-
projects for the Washington-based
an impulse, should repulse all humanity.
Jewish Institute for National Security
"I don't really think that it's fruitful to
Affairs, said it makes sense that Jews
speculate on the motives of people who
would be targeted in Iraq.
could commit such an act. The
"There are people in these countries
deplorable abuses in the Abu Ghraib
who are looking to kill people who are
prison could [never] justify the murder
of an innocent, especially an innocent
members of certain groups," Bryen said.
"The two at the top of the list are
ironically trying to help the people of
Americans and Jews."
Though Berg's religion wasn't men-
Joseph Kashnow, an Army Cavalry
tioned on the video posted on a Web ,
scout from Baltimore who has returned
site linked to Al Qaida, Berg recites the
from Baghdad, felt strains of anti-
names of his family members, similar to
Semitism before coming home after a
the way Pearl did.
severe injury.
Berg is seen saying, "My name is Nick
Kashnow, an Orthodox Jew who wore
Berg, my father's name is Michael, my
a kippah but usually hid it under his
mother's name is Susan... I have a broth- helmet, said that while most of the time
er and sister, David and Sarah."
his religion wasn't an issue, he did
His father, Michael, said his son's reli-
encounter problems.
gion may have made him a target.
"It's certainly possible there are peo-
"There's a better chance than not that
BERG on page 18

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