INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nora Basha met Peter Kassig online, when he reached out to the Syrian American Council last summer for help with his humanitarian organization, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA). Kassig was looking for connections in Syria to help with his efforts.
“I shot him a message and said ‘wow what a small world. I’m from Indianapolis too’ and we kind of hit it off,” recalled Basha.
The two chatted back and forth for about a month before Kassig went silent.
“It put me to shame. I was like, I would never go. I never had that much courage to go out there and put my life on the line for this,” said Basha.
Basha’s parents were born in Syria. Now living in Carmel, she’s very active with American organizations standing up for Syrian freedom. Last year, she says support for those groups was at a new low.
“I was feeling so down, because I felt like the entire world – no one cared. We would have protests and only Syrians would show up. We would ask for donations and only Syrians would donate. It was just heartbreaking. We felt like no one cared other than us, even though hundreds of thousands were being massacred,” said Basha.
Then Kassig came into her life, at just the right time.
“I had never met someone with so much passion for something that he had no relation to technically,” said Basha.
She said a friend told her the news that ISIS was threatening Kassig.
“Honestly I was traumatized. That’s the only way I could put it. I was…it was horrible. I was traumatized. It’s horrible to see these people using our religion, our name, to justify their actions,” said Basha. “You’re not supposed to attack journalists or aid workers or civilians.”
But that’s the reality that called Kassig to action.
“Decide for yourselves, you’re seeing it, this is real you know and like its scary stuff and its sad, its sad what is happening to people here. Sometimes you gotta take a stand, you gotta draw a line somewhere,” Kassig told CNN in 2012.
“We’re all praying for his release. Everyone I know, no one supports ISIS. This group is a fragment group that I don’t know where. We’re all in shock that where it came from and why it’s doing what it’s doing,” said Basha.