The relatives of British hostages Alan Henning and David Haines, who were murdered by Islamic State (IS), have jointly launched an appeal to the public to come together in a “single act of unity”.
Alan’s wife Barbara Henning and David’s brother Michael Haines released a public letter urging British people from all faiths and the rest of the world to stand together against IS.
The plea comes ahead of memorial services held in both Manchester and Perth, commemorating the lives of the two brave British men. Hundreds of attendees paid their tributes and respects at the two ceremonies.
Mr Henning and Mr Haines had both gone to Syria with the sole purpose of helping those in need as part of aid convoys travelling to the area. Former was captured in December 2013 while delivering supplies to Syrian refugees, where as the latter was taken hostage in Syria while working for an international relief agency ACTED in March last year.
In an open letter Barbara and Michael wrote a powerful statement of love, strength and togetherness: “We call on all communities of all faiths in the coming weeks and months to find a single act of unity – one simple gesture, one act, one moment – that draws people together.”
The pair went on to note how these terrorists wanted to destroy the key thing that drove those two brave men to go out to Syria in the first place and stated: “Their desire to help was not driven by their religion, race or politics, but by their humanity.”
British Muslims have expressed outrage and have unleashed a torrent of condemnation on the IS militants. IS’s decision to publicise this brutal crime on the eve of Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha – a festival signifying peace and sharing – was viewed by many Muslims as deliberate provocation.
From these horrendous and vicious events comes a notion of mutual fury amongst all faiths, nationalities and backgrounds. Barbara and Michael have announced that the huge amount of people reaching out to support them has been completely overwhelming, and they have also made it abundantly clear that they will not be torn apart by such hateful acts.
The duo said: “We urge churches, mosques and synagogues to open their doors and welcome people of all faiths and none. All these simple acts of unity will, in their thousands, come together to unite us and celebrate the lives of David and Alan. This is what David and Alan truly stood for.”