David Haines: Scottish Imams call for hostage's release

Muslim leaders will use Friday prayers to condemn extremism

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The Independent Online

Muslim leaders will use sermons on Friday to reiterate their opposition to extremism, urge young people not to join fundamentalist fighters, and call for the release of all hostages held by the Islamic State (Isis) fighters.

Imams across Scotland will use Friday prayers to reinforce these messages, according to a joint statement from the Muslim Council of Scotland, Islamic Society of Britain and Glasgow Central Mosque.

Earlier this week the parents of Glasgow woman Aqsa Mahmood who left home last November, said they were horrified to learn that she had joined radicals in Syria and married an IS fighter.

They said she had "betrayed us, our community and the people of Scotland when you took this step" but pleaded for her return.

An Isis fighter speaking with a distinctive English accent, who has been called 'Jihadi John' beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and has threatened the life of British aid worker David Haines.


Mr Haines was taken in Syria last year and was shown on a video of the killing of Mr Sotloff earlier this week.

In their statement Muslim leaders said the community "unequivocally condemns the barbaric actions of IS (formerly known as ISIS).

"We send our heartfelt sympathies to the families of those who have been killed at the murderous hands of IS - regardless of where they are from or what their religion. The actions of IS are against the teachings of Islam and therefore supporting or joining such an organisation is unacceptable.

"We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by IS and pray for all of those killed, injured or harmed by extremism the world over."

The leaders also called on governments to "react in accordance with international and domestic law" when dealing with radicals, claiming that the war in Iraq had been the "greatest recruiting sergeant for extremist groups".

Additional reporting by PA