Daniel Pearl lived a short but meaningful life. This Jewish journalist was kidnapped and murdered by extremists while on assignment, and used his final moments to speak words that went down in infamy.
Pearl was born October 10, 1963 in Princeton, New Jersey. He came from a proudly Jewish family—his grandparents emigrated from Poland to Israel to help build the town of Bnai-Brak.
Daniel attended Stanford University, where he showed an early interest in journalism—he helped found the university’s Stanford Commentator. He worked at a series of papers following graduation, growing as a writer on foreign affairs.
He started with the Wall Street Journal is 1990, moving from Atlanta offices to DC then London.
Pearl was kidnapped by Pakistani radicals on January 23, 2002, en route to an interview. He was held for 10 days before he was beheaded by terrorists from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an incredibly violent terrorist group in the Pakistani region.
His execution was videotaped, and some of his final words, a tribute to his Judaism, have gone on to become a symbolism of Jewish heroism.
“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish,” Daniel said. The quote has since been inscribed on the gravestone of late New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
Pearl’s story has become internationally recognized. His widow Mariane wrote a memoir, “A Mighty Heart,” which became a film starring Angelina Jolie. It tells the ultimately unsuccessful search for Pearl during his time as a hostage.
The manhunt to capture those responsible lasted more than a decade. Last year, news broke that Qari Abdul Hayee, a leader of the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was finally caught in Karachi, Pakistan.
Hayee was originally arrested in 2003 but acquitted. The militant is not believed to be directly responsible for Pearl’s murder, but a participant in the events leading up to the killing. He is considered one of the highest-ranking members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Pearl left behind a wife and young son. Since his death, the name Daniel Pearl has been attributed to countless schools and memorials. Since 2005, the Wall Street Journal has awarded the Daniel Pearl Prize for excellence in journalism.