(15 August 1967 - 03 October 2014)
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Mr Alan Henning
15 August 1967 - 03 October 2014
Alan Henning (15 August 1967 – 3 October 2014) was a British taxicab driver-turned-volunteer humanitarian aid worker. He was the fourth Western hostage killed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) whose killing was publicized in a beheading video.
Henning was captured during ISIL's occupation of the Syrian city of Al-Dana in December 2013. He was there helping provide humanitarian relief. The British Foreign Office withheld news of Henning's capture while it attempted to negotiate his release.
Henning was shown at the end of David Cawthorne Haines's execution video, released on 13 September 2014, and referred to by "Jihadi John" of the ISIL cell known as The Beatles as the next victim. A video of Henning's beheading was released on 3 October 2014.
After his execution, British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered MI5, MI6, and GCHQ to track and kill or capture Jihadi John.
Alan Henning was a cab driver in Salford, Greater Manchester, in North West England before he travelled to Syria in December 2013 to be a volunteer aid worker. He has also been described as being from Eccles, Greater Manchester.
He was married to Barbara Livesey Henning and had two children, Lucy and Adam.
Henning was part of a team of volunteers that travelled to Syria in December 2013 to deliver food and water to people affected by the Middle Eastern country's civil war. He was abducted on 26 December 2013 by masked gunmen, according to other people in his aid convoy.
A video released on 3 October 2014 shows his apparent beheading; the executioner blames it on the UK for its joining the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS.
Before his throat is slit, Henning appears on camera, seemingly handcuffed behind his back and in a kneeling position, next to a knife-wielding masked man (Jihadi John, of the ISIL cell known as The Beatles). Henning speaks, referencing the British Parliament's decision to participate in a coalition of countries, such as the United States, that have banded together to bomb the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The end of the video shows American aid worker Peter Kassig, and a threat to his life.
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the killing as "absolutely appalling" and "completely unforgivable" and vowed to do everything to defeat ISIL. He described Henning as a man of great peace, kindness and gentleness, saying: "He went with many Muslim friends out to do no more than simply help other people. His Muslim friends will be mourning him at this special time of Eid and the whole country is mourning with them.”
On 5 October prayers were said for Henning in churches across Bolton. The Bishop of Bolton Rt Rev Chris Edmondson said: “This is the most horrific, brutal and barbaric act. Leaders of Christian and Muslim faiths have universally condemned this act." Bolton Interfaith Council and Bolton Council of Mosques, who had held a vigil for Henning before news of his death, said they would continue to pray for him.
A special service of remembrance was held at Eccles Parish Church, attended by Henning's widow. A memorial fund had been set up, by friend and fellow aid-worker Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, with the aim of raising £20,000. By 9 October £30,000 had been raised by the Muslim community and would be used to help support Henning's family.
A further memorial service was held on 12 October at the British Muslim Heritage Centre, organised by friends and humanitarian aid colleagues of Henning, attracting over 600 people.
On 7 October, former Guantánamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg proclaimed that he had offered to intervene to help secure Henning's release.
On 15 October Labour MP Barbara Keeley, speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, called for a national honour to recognise Henning's sacrifice, and for support for his widow and children. David Cameron agreed and said he would look carefully at her suggestion.
A Loss to mankind
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