Hostage Alan Henning’s wife pleads IS to release himCurrent affairsNewsPolitics & Social issues
The wife of British aid volunteer Alan Henning has issued a desperate plea that he be released by his terrorist captors.
Mr Henning, who left his job as a taxi driver in Eccles near Manchester to travel to Syria with an aid convoy for the third time in his life, was captured by Islamic State last December.
In a statement released via the Foreign Office, his wife Barbara Henning pleaded with his abductors to release the 47-year-old and to recognise the motives behind his travelling to the Middle East.
Barbara said: “Alan is a peaceful, selfless man who left his family and his job as a taxi driver in the UK to drive in a convoy all the way to Syria with his Muslim colleagues and friends to help those most in need. His purpose for being there was no more and no less. This was an act of sheer compassion.”
Mrs Henning, who remained in the UK with the couple’s two teenage children, emphasised her husband’s nature: “I cannot see how it could assist any state’s cause to allow the world to see a man like Alan dying. When they hear this message I implore the people of the Islamic State to see it in their hearts to release my husband.”
Last week Mr Henning was threatened by his captors in the same video that depicted the terrible murder of British aid worker David Haines.
The threats followed an appeal by Muslim scholars in the UK for the release of western hostages. Haitham al-Haddad, from the Lewisham Islamic Centre, made it clear that he “stood with Mr Henning”. Addressing the IS the imam said: “I urge you to understand the nature of this prisoner you are holding – a man of peace.”
Alan, who was nicknamed “gadget” by his colleagues, appeared in a video the day before his capture, citing the reasons for his joining the convoy.
In the footage Alan stated: “It’s all worthwhile when you see what is needed actually get to where it needs to go. That makes it all worthwhile. No sacrifice we do is anything compared to what the people of Syria are going through on a daily basis.”
An unnamed friend of Mr Henning claims that the convoy was “about half an hour into Syria” when Alan and other drivers were abducted. He said: “The rest of the drivers were British Muslims and they were released pretty quickly, but not Alan. We didn’t see him again.”
Thomas Rhys Jones