Kayla Mueller, an American Christian, was kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately killed by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for refusing to renounce Christ.
Now, in a stunning turn of events, a U.S. military operation has resulted in the death of the extremist leader Baghdadi just a few days ago.
As a nod to Kayla Mueller’s faithfulness to Christ, the U.S. military had named this operation after her.
Kayla Mueller was abducted by ISIS in August, 2013 while she was carrying out humanitarian work in Aleppo, Syria.
According to U.S. officials, Baghdadi repeatedly tortured and raped Kayla at his compound in northwest Syria for two years. The young woman died in captivity in 2015 and her body has never been recovered.
“The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff named the operation…after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered,” reported Robert O’Brien, the White House National Security Advisor.
Baghdadi was “the most vicious, cruel man,” O’Brien added.
He was also the most-wanted terrorist in the world at the time of his death.
“What this man did to Kayla — he kidnapped her,” said Kayla’s father.
“She was held in many prisons. She was held in solitary confinement. She was tortured. She was intimidated. She was ultimately raped by al-Baghdadi himself.”
“He either killed her or he was complicit in her murder.”
While she was in captivity, Kayla was specifically targeted because of her Christian faith. She suffered torture and constant pressure to convert to Islam.
“If you become a Muslim, you will be freed,” promised Baghdadi and other captors.
The ISIS extremists even told other captives that Kayla had renounced her Christianity and converted to Islam.
“One of [them] started to say, ‘Oh, this is Kayla and she has been held all by herself,’” said one of Kayla’s fellow hostages, recalling how the terrorists paraded her in front of others in an effort at propaganda.
“[He said], ‘And she is much stronger than you guys. And she’s much smarter. She converted to Islam.’ And then she was like, ‘No, I didn’t.’”
Kayla Mueller stood fast in her faith and trust in God, providing an astonishing example and inspiration for her fellow prisoners.
“I would not have had the guts to say that,” continued the other hostage. “It was very clear that all of us were impressed by the strength that she showed in front of us. That was very clear.”
Kayla clung to her faith throughout her captivity, a fact which was clearly shown in a letter given to her parents after her death.
“In the end the only one you really have is God,” wrote Kayla. “I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator.”
“I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall…I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful.”
“I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness and surrender to God,” she concluded.
Kayla Mueller’s profound faith left a lasting impact not only on those who were imprisoned with her, but on her ISIS captors and their families as well.
Kayla’s own family is grateful to know that their daughter’s captor is now dead.
According to White House staff, the mission to take down Baghdadi was a five month process of tracking the terrorist and infiltrating his compound. The operation was dangerous for everyone involved, but it finally paid off.
The final mission in the operation was a raid on Baghdadi’s compound in Syria. U.S. military forces had cornered Baghdadi in a system of tunnels under the compound, where the terrorist then detonated a suicide vest upon realizing there was no way out.
The Mueller family hopes to now move forward. But Kayla’s parents have one more request for the U.S. government – find Kayla’s remains and bring them home.
“For me what matters most I’m hoping now we will finally get the answers we have been asking for all along,” said Kayla’s mother, Marsha.
As we continue to grieve the loss of this young woman who stood so extraordinarily strong and courageous in her faith, we must pray for God’s intervention on behalf of all His people around the world!