Report: Daniel Pearl baptised by Mormons

By Jennifer Lipman, February 29, 2012

The parents of a journalist who was murdered by Islamic militants in Pakistan have reacted angrily to the revelation that their son was posthumously baptised by the Mormon Church.

The claim that Daniel Pearl was baptised last year, a decade after he was kidnapped and beheaded while in Karachi investigating alleged links between Al Qaeda and Pakistan's intelligence service, comes just a week after it emerged that the same had been done to Holocaust diarist Anne Frank.

Mr Pearl's parents, Judea and Ruth, told the Boston Globe they were disturbed to hear that the Mormons had taken on their son's case and performed "this un-called-for ritual".

Although the Mormon Church does not officially condone the practice, former member Helen Radkey has discovered several high-profile cases of slain Jews being baptised by Mormon groups, including the parents of the Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

The Pearls told the Globe that they wished to tell the church: "We appreciate your good intentions but rest assured that Danny's soul was redeemed through the life that he lived and the values that he upheld.

"He lived as a proud Jew, died as a proud Jew and is currently facing his creator as a Jew, blessed, accepted and redeemed."

Mr Pearl's widow, Mariane, backed an earlier call from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to condemn the practice.

Mr Romney, who last night saw his status as the Republican frontrunner restored with primary wins in Arizona and Michigan, is well-known as a devout Mormon. But he has so far been silent about the growing scandal of posthumous baptisms.

A spokesman for the church reiterated its stance, stating that "the church considers these submissions to be a serious breach of protocol".

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has carried out the controversial practice of baptising non-members after their deaths for some 170 years, but 15 years ago officials agreed to stop using the names of Jewish Holocaust victims.

Last updated: 12:32pm, February 29 2012