British Muslim leaders unite in plea for British hostage held by ISIS
Muslim leaders across the UK have appealed to the Islamist militia group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) to release British aid worker Alan Henning.
More than 100 Muslim imams and activists expressed “horror and revulsion” at the killing of British hostage David Haines, adding that killing Henning would be “the worst condemnable sin” against Islam.
“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” they say in an open letter.
“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 [Koran] and the Sunnah [teachings of the Prophet Mohammed]” they add.
The letter was signed by the imams of the UK’s biggest mosques, along with British Muslim politicians including Khalid Mahmood, Shabana Mahmood and Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.
Britain’s biggest Muslim representative organization, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was also a signatory to the letter.
In the letter, Koranic references were used to explain why the actions of IS are not in line with Islamic teachings, and urge those fighting with the extremists to learn “the errors of their ways.”
“The Holy [Koran] says that: ‘Whosoever kills a human being... it is as if killing the entire human race; and whosoever saves a life, saves the entire human race" the letter goes on to say.
“In the name of the Almighty All Merciful God, we beseech Mr Henning's kidnappers with the words of our Prophet [Mohammed] – ‘Show mercy to those on earth, the One in the Heavens will have mercy on you.’”
The letter comes as the UK considers military solutions to deal with IS, which has taken over vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring it a self-proclaimed caliphate.
As a result, Prime Minister David Cameron is considering authorizing airstrikes on IS-held territory in line with a US-led military operation. The army may also help train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels.
British Muslims have also spoken out against IS, taking to social media to renounce the Islamist group.
The London based ‘Active Change Foundation’ started a campaign, titled ‘#notinmyname’, in which a number of young British Muslims condemn the violence conducted by IS fighters.
“ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam,” they say, insisting that their actions have “nothing to do with what we stand for."
The group also says that the IS is “totally un-Islamic” and “has no respect for women.”
Henning, a father of two from Manchester, traveled to Syria last year along with a group of aid workers.
According to official security service reports, he was kidnapped half an hour after entering the country, although it is not known at what point he ended up in IS hands.