ISIS have been branded as ‘monsters’ for the murder of David Haines and kidnapping of Salford’s Alan Henning, in an open letter signed by more than 100 British Muslim Imams.
British Muslim Imams from around the UK have signed a statement to ISIS urging them to release Mr Henning, a former cab driver from Eccles who was travelling on an aid convoy in December 2013 when he was captured just after crossing into Syria.
The letter, which was sent to the Independent, also branded ISIS as ‘monsters’, for the brutal beheading of British aid worker David Haines.
“We, the undersigned British Muslim Imams, organisations and individuals, wish to express our horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines and the threat to the life of our fellow British citizen, Alan Henning,” the letter said.
“Mr Henning was a volunteer who travelled to Syria to help innocent civilians.
“Acts of humanitarianism are an essential element of religious practice for all Muslims, and of course they are just as significant to other people too. Islamic teachings call for charity and selflessness.
“Most importantly, acts of beneficence do not, and cannot, exclude non-Muslims.”
The letter goes on to say that in Islam, concern for fellow humans and the duty to help everyone is a ‘religious obligation’.
“Anyone undertaking a humanitarian act is paving his or her way to receive help from heaven, should be commended and held in the highest esteem,” the letter said.
“In contrast, the senseless kidnapping, murder and now the despicable threats to Mr Henning at the hands of so-called ‘Muslims’ cannot be justified anywhere in the Quran and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions).
“The un-Islamic fanatics are not acting as Muslims, but as the Prime Minister has said, they are acting as monsters. They are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity.
“This is not Jihad – it is a war against all humanity.”
A deeply disturbing video of Mr Henning on his knees next to a knife-wielding terrorist has been broadcast across the world since the video emerged last week.
Majid Freeman, who travelled to Syria with Mr Henning, has also made a direct appeal to his captors.
He said in a BBC interview: “Please show him some mercy and understand he is a humanitarian aid worker.
“He’s not a fighter, he’s not come there for no political reasons, he’s come there strictly to help the people.”
These sentiments were echoed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, representing British Muslim aid workers.
Speaking in a video posted online, he said: “You have the ability to spare the life of this innocent man.
“We beg you to tread the path of justice and show him the compassion that Allah has placed in the hearts of the believers and in your heart.”
Yesterday, MM took to the streets of Manchester to ask whether they thought the British government should pay Mr Henning’s ransom, and the results were somewhat surprising, with 75% saying the government should not negotiate with terrorists.
This is in keeping with the government’s current stance, who do not pay ransoms under any circumstances, though neighbouring countries Spain and France have paid to fee several hostages this year.
Retiree John Davies, 60, from Cheshire said: “It starts an industry, we should not pay to release hostages.
“The guy currently there was advised not to go past Turkey, politically we are doing everything without paying for them.”
However Karen Turton, 36, a travel manager from Wilmslow, believes the government should do whatever they can to save the life of the hostage, whatever the cost.
She said. “I think they should pay because if it was a member of my family, I would want them to come home.”
Image courtesy of NY Times, via YouTube, with thanks.