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Journalist Daniel Pearl, whose videotaped beheading by Al Qaeda militants on February 1, 2002 brought a heightened grimness and sense of terror about Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, was born in Princeton, New Jersey on this date in 1963. Pearl was working as the South Asia Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal when he was kidnapped in Pakistan while investigating the background of the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Pearl had been working for the newspaper since 1990; the first child of his marriage was born four months after his murder. A collection of his writings, At Home in the World, was published posthumously. The Daniel Pearl Foundation, created by his parents, promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and dialogue and includes as board members Christiane Amanpour, Bill Clinton, Pakistani social activist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Queen Noor of Jordan, Sari Nusseibeh, Itzhak Perlman, and Elie Wiesel, among other notables.
“My name is Daniel Pearl. I’m a Jewish American from Encino, California, USA.... on my father’s side the family is Zionist. My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish. My family follows Judaism. We’ve made numerous family visits to Israel.” —Daniel Pearl, before his execution