Mother of slain journalist Daniel Pearl dies at 85

Ruth Pearl’s husband Judea says she considered her greatest accomplishment was the book they published in memory of their son

Ruth Pearl is seen at the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration in San Francisco, on June 18, 2012 (Ryan Anson/AP Images for Association for Computing Machinery)
Ruth Pearl is seen at the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration in San Francisco, on June 18, 2012 (Ryan Anson/AP Images for Association for Computing Machinery)

Ruth Pearl, the mother of murdered Jewish-American reporter Daniel Pearl, died last week at the age of 85.

Her husband Judea confirmed she passed away on July 20, but did not state the cause, according to the New York Times.

In 2002, Ruth Pearl and her husband were thrust into the global spotlight, after their son Daniel was kidnapped and brutally murdered while reporting for The Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.

Pearl disappeared on January 23, 2002, in Karachi, where he was investigating links between Pakistani terrorist groups and Richard C. Reid, dubbed the “shoe bomber.” Reid had attempted to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Pearl’s body was discovered in a shallow grave soon after a video of his beheading was delivered to the United States consulate in Karachi.

His last words were, “My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish.”

President Bush, right, hugs Ruth Pearl, left, as her husband Professor Judea Pearl, center, watches at the Hanukkah Reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, on December 10, 2007, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In 2003, the Pearls published a book titled “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl.”

According to The New York Times, Judea Pearl said his wife, who did most of the editing, considered the book to be her greatest accomplishment.

It included an essay by Ruth Pearl, as well as by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kirk Douglas and Nadine Gordimer.

Ruth Pearl was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1935. She met Judea at Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. They then married in 1960 and moved to New Jersey.

The Pearls had three children, Daniel being the middle one.

She is survived by her husband; her sister Carmella; her daughters Michelle and Tamara; her daughter-in-law Mariane; and grandchildren Leora, Tori, Ari, Evan, and Adam.

Murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. (Photo credit: the Daniel Pearl Foundation)
Daniel Pearl was a journalist for The Wall Street Journal. (The Daniel Pearl Foundation)

Earlier this year, a British-born man — Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh — sentenced to death for the murder of Daniel Pearl was ordered to be let out of prison by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, but is to remain in custody in accommodation similar to that given to prison staff while another appeal is considered.

Sheikh and three accomplices have been behind bars since 2002 when they were convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Pearl.

Since then, they have won and lost a series of appeals and counter-appeals in connection with the case, with a top court last year overturning their murder convictions.

Washington has previously asked Pakistan to hand Sheikh to US authorities if he is ever freed.

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