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Interfaith ceremony honors slain reporter James Foley

More than 200 people gathered in Rochester, N.H., for a vigil in honor of James Foley, killed by Islamic State militants.

Zack Wittman for The Boston Globe

More than 200 people gathered in Rochester, N.H., for a vigil in honor of James Foley, killed by Islamic State militants.

Residents of Rochester, N.H., gathered Saturday evening to honor slain journalist James Foley at an interfaith candlelight vigil.

“We want to honor the life of James Foley, and we also want to denounce as Muslims the atrocious acts of ISIS,” said Syrian-American activist Nadia Alawa in a phone interview before the event. “Humanity is one and we don’t want to let hate separate us.”

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Alawa organized the event, which drew members of Foley’s family, including his mother.

Foley was abducted in November 2012 in Syria while reporting on the multifront civil war there for GlobalPost and other outlets. Last week, Islamic State militants (also known as ISIS) released a video of his slaying, which they said was in response to US airstrikes against the group in neighboring Iraq.

The Rev. Paul M. Gousse of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic church, which the Foley family attends, joined in the vigil. Alawa praised the Catholic community for being receptive to her effort to start an interfaith dialogue, calling members of the church “very, very welcoming and loving.”

Alawa, whose NuDay Syria group sends aid to the country, said she saw Foley as a kindred spirit who was similarly moved by the plight of innocents caught in the crossfire.

“You can see in his footage, there’s no doubt he believes in humanity and peace,” she said.

On Sunday, supporters are expected to honor Foley again at an early afternoon Mass at Gousse’s church.

Foley was abducted in November 2012 in Syria while reporting on the multifront civil war there.

ZACK WITTMAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Foley was abducted in November 2012 in Syria while reporting on the multifront civil war there.

Dan Adams can be reached at dadams@globe.com. Find him on Twitter at @DanielAdams86.
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