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Pearl, Daniel


PEARL, DANIEL (1963–2002), U.S. journalist. Born in Princeton, n.j., Pearl grew up in Encino, Calif., where his father was a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. Pearl, who had dual American-Israeli citizenship, earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Stanford University and had several newspaper jobs before joining the Atlanta bureau of The Wall Street Journal in 1990. He moved to the Washington bureau in 1993 and three years later to the Journal's London bureau as Middle East correspondent. In 2000, Pearl became the newspaper's South Asia bureau chief. While investigating the case of Richard Reid, who was convicted of carrying a bomb in his shoe on an airline, Pearl was kidnapped by a militant group in Pakistan calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. The group said Pearl was a spy and sent the United States a range of demands, including the freeing of all Pakistani terror detainees and the release of a halted U.S. shipment of F-16 fighter jets to the Pakistani government. The press deliberately kept word of his Israeli parents out of the story to protect one of their own. Threatening to kill Pearl, the group released photographs of Pearl handcuffed with a gun at his head and holding up a newspaper. There was no response to pleas from Pearl's editor, and from his wife, who was pregnant with their first child. Six days later, Pearl was killed and the kidnappers later severed his head. Pearl's body was found five months later in a grave near Karachi. In February 2003, a videotape titled The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl was released. It shows his murder and records Pearl saying "I am a Jew and my father was a Jew." Then his throat was cut. The video made its way to the Pakistani government and the U.S. government, and eventually it leaked onto the Internet through a Jihadist site. On the video, Pearl described his Jewish upbringing and his family's involvement with the creation of the State of Israel. Four Islamic men were later convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder. The prosecution relied on technical evidence provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which traced e-mails to the defendants.

A collection of Pearl's writings, At Home in the World: Collected Writings from the Wall Street Journal, was published in 2002. The following year, Mariane Pearl, the widow, and Sarah Crichton, published A Mighty Heart, and Ruth and Judea Pearl, Daniel's parents, published I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl in 2004. The family and friends also established the Daniel Pearl Foundation to continue his mission and to address the root causes of the tragedy in the spirit, style, and principles that shaped Pearl's work and character.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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