Alan Henning: British Muslim leaders unite to urge Isis to release UK hostage

‘We are not prepared to let these lunatics hijack our faith’ - read the letter and add your name to the #NotInMyName list

Oliver Wright
Thursday 18 September 2014 13:47 BST
Aid worker Alan Henning was kidnapped in Syria in December
Aid worker Alan Henning was kidnapped in Syria in December (Getty Images)

More than 100 Muslim leaders today make an unprecedented joint appeal to the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed or commit the “worst condemnable sin” against Islam.

The statement to The Independent has been signed by dozens of Imams from across the UK as well as community leaders and other prominent Muslims. It has been passed on to Mr Henning’s family.

It pleads with those holding the British hostage to accept that he was on a mission to Syria to help innocent civilians and to see the errors of their ways.

“In Islam, concern for fellow humans and the duty to help everyone is a religious obligation,” they write. “Anyone undertaking a humanitarian act is paving his or her way to receive help from heaven.

“In contrast, the senseless kidnapping and despicable threats to Mr Henning cannot be justified.”

Using Koranic references the letter says that if they are true Muslims the kidnappers – including the British man dubbed Jihadi John – must release him “immediately”.

The leaders also express their “horror and revulsion” at the “senseless murder” of the previous three hostages, including the Briton David Haines.

“The un-Islamic fanatics are not acting as Muslims, but as the Prime Minister has said, they are acting as monsters,” they say.

Among those signing the letter are representatives of all strands of Islam.

The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body with more than 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, including mosques, charities and schools, is also a signatory.

It has been endorsed by prominent politicians including Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi and Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan.

Mustafa Field, director of Faith Forums for London and adviser to the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, who helped compile the letter, said: “British Muslims are joining hands with fellow Britons in categorically denouncing the fanaticism of the great evil that is the un-Islamic State. This letter shows that British Muslim leaders are not prepared to let these lunatics hijack our faith.”

Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters and the Tell Mama anti-Muslim hate monitoring project, added: “This is sending out a clear message that Isis is a threat to all of us in this country.

“We stand squarely against them, their actions and their abuse of Islam.”

Video: Footage of Alan Henning before he was captured

Add your name to the list and show your support by using the #NotInMyName hashtag

Letter by British Imams and Muslim Leaders appealing for release of Alan Henning

We, the undersigned British Muslim Imams, organisations and individuals, wish to express our horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines and the threat to the life of our fellow British citizen, Alan Henning.

Mr Henning was a volunteer who travelled to Syria to help innocent civilians.

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. Islamic teachings call for charity and selflessness. Most importantly, acts of beneficence do not, and cannot, exclude non-Muslims.

In Islam, concern for fellow humans and the duty to help everyone is a religious obligation. Anyone undertaking a humanitarian act is paving his or her way to receive help from heaven, should be commended and held in the highest esteem.

In contrast, 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 Quran and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions).

The un-Islamic fanatics are not acting as Muslims, but as the Prime Minister has said, they are acting as monsters. They are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity. This is not Jihad - it is a war against all humanity.

The Holy Quran 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."

We plead with those holding Alan Henning to see the errors of their ways. To embrace the word of the Quran and accept that what they are now doing constitutes the worst condemnable sin.

We appeal to them to release Mr Henning immediately. The Quran states that “repentance is not accepted from those who continue to do evil deeds”.

In the name of the Almighty All Merciful God, we beseech Mr Henning's kidnappers with the words of our Prophet Muhammad - "Show mercy to those on earth, the One in the Heavens will have mercy on you.

British Muslim communities have done a great deal to speak out over the evils of terrorism over many years. We will continue to do everything within our power to prevent any other young man or woman getting caught up in this poisonous ideology.

Sheikh Arif Abdulhussain, Director, Al-Mahdi Institute, Birmingham, @AMIOutreach

Imam Khalid Hussain Abdullah, Lecturer and Imam, KQZ Institute & Masjid Tajdar Madina, Nottingham & Leicester

Mohammed Afzal, Councillor, Birmingham

Mufti Fazal Ahmad, Chief imam, Central Mosque, Derby

Dr Husna Ahmad OBE, CEO, Global One, London

Akeela Ahmed, London

Sughra Ahmed, President, Islamic Society of Britain

Usma Ahmed, Councillor, Birmingham

Muddassar Ahmed, Patron, Faiths Forum for London

Shakil Ahmed, Principal, Ayesha Community School, London, @_ACE_School

Dr Khurshid Ahmed CBE, CEO, Bahu Trust, Birmingham

Maqsood Ahmed OBE, Director of Community Welfare& Development, Muslim Hands, @maqsoodajmedobe

Rushanara Ali, MP for Tower Hamlets

Hafiz Javed Akhtar, Imam, Central Mosque, Manchester

Salah Yusuf Al-Ansari, Imam, Palmers Green Mosque, London

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli, Imam, Noor Trust, London

Abubakar Ali, Chairman, Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, London

Asif Ali, Imam / Head Teacher, Karimia Institute, Nottingham

Azhar Ali, County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing, Lancashire County Council, @azhar4pendle

Nawaz Ali, Councillor, Birmingham

Mahmoud Ali, General Secretary, Hosseinieh Foundation, Bristol, @HosseiniehSahibzada

Mufti Akhtar Ali, Chief Imam, Sheffield

Haider Alkhateeb, Manager, Centre for Islamic Shia Studies (CISS), London, @halkhateeb25

Kerrar Al-Khayat, Trustee and Vice Chairman, My Voice Project, London, @Kerrar_

Sayed Yousif Al-Khoei, Director, Public Affairs, Al-Khoei Foundation, London

Haytham Ali Alsahlani, Imam, London

Abu Sayeed Ameer, Dawatul Islam uk & Eire, Dawatul Islam uk & Eire London

Mohammed Ali Amla, Vice Chair of Preston Faith Forum, Founder of Global Village, Founder of Christian Muslim Encounters, @mohammedaliamla

Anjum Anwar MBE, Dialogue Development Officer, Blackburn Cathedral, @AuntyG

Dr Qari Muhammad Asim, Senior Imam, Makkah Mosque, Leeds, @QariAsim

Maulana Dr Ather HussainAzhari, Imam, Birmingham

Mufti Mohammad Yousuf Azhari, Imam, Leicestershire

Mohammed Azim, Councillor, Birmingham

Maulana QamaruzzamanAzmi, Secretary General, World Islamic Mission, Manchester

Kalsoom Bashir, Co-Director, Inspire

Yahya Birt, Executive Committee, Public Policy and Community Debate, City Circle, London, @ybirt

Dr Mamadou Bocoum, Director, Interfaith Through The Arts (ITTA), London

Maulana Syed Fida Bokhari, Imam, Manchester

Imam Tayeb Mustapha Cham, Chairman, Tayba Foundation

Makhdoom Ahmad Chishti, Chairperson, Social Unity Foundation of Innovation Trust, Birmingham

Maulana Hafeezurrahman Chishti, Imam, Leicester

Irfan Chishti MBE, Imam, Light of Islam Academy, Rochdale @ichishtiM

Aslam Choudry, Elected Councillor for Dudden Hill Ward, Brent Council, London

Gulamraza Datoo, Vice President, KSIMC of Birmingham, Birmingham

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, Imam /Resident Alim, Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat, Portsmouth

Shaykh Muhammad Amin Evans, Imam

Mustafa Field, Director, Faiths Forum for London, @mustafafield

Rabiha Hannan, New Horizons in British Islam

Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL, Chair, Chase Against Crimes of Hate, Stafford, @hhi1

Dr Mohamed Adam Hassan, Chairman, Somali Youth Forum, London, @Hafiz

Moulana Shamsul Hoque, Chairman, Council of Mosques - Tower Hamlets, London

Mahmood Hussain, Councillor and Former Lord Mayor of Birmingham

Dilwar Hussain, New Horizons in British Islam, @DilwarH

Rizwan Hussain, Chief Executive, Jawaab, London, @JawaabUK

AKIpaye, Director, Dairatul-Amni, London

Zafar Iqbal, Councillor, Birmingham

Mohammed Iqbal, Councillor, Leader of the Labour Group, Pendle Borough Council, Lancashire

Ali Jaffri, Trustee, Idara-e-Jaaferiya, Mosque and Community Centre, London, @mralijaffri

‎Dr Husein Jiwa, President, The Council of European Jamaats, London, @CoEJ

Belgacem Kahlalech, Director, WAMY UK, London

Mohammedraza Kanji, Secretary, Wessex Jamaaat, Al Mahdi Centre, Fareham

Dr Majid Katme, Ex-President, Islamic Medical Association/UK, London

Nagina Kauser, Councillor, Birmingham

Zahra Kazmi, Co-Founder, Save Muslim Heritage, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Changese Khan, Councillor, London

Mariam Khan, Councillor, Birmingham

Hamzah Khan, Manager, Al-Mustafa Trust, Bradford, @almustafacentre

Mohammed Khan, Chair, Council of Bristol Mosque, Bristol

Sara Khan, Co-Director, Inspire

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Sectretary

M Afzal Khan CBE, MEP, Manchester, @akhanmep

Imam Tahir Mahmood Kiani, Lecturer, Birmingham, @tmkiani

Farzana Kosar, General Secretary, Centre for Spirituality & Cultural Advancement, Feltham, @csca_uk

Riyaz Laher, Chair, FMO Leicestershire, Leicester, @FMO_Leics

Maualana Safraz Madni, Imam and Chairman, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board, Birmingham

Majid Mahmood, Councillor, Birmingham

Khalid Mahmood

Shabana Mahmood, MP, Birmingham

Mufti Helal Mahmood, Coordinator, Oldham Mosques Council, Oldham

Imran Malik, General Secretary, Blackheath Jamia Mosque Trust, Blackheath

Shaz Manir, CEO, Amirah foundation, Birmingham, @directoramirah

Salim Mbaruk, Chair, Bilal Education, London

Dr Asghar Moledina, President, The World Federation of KSIMC, London, @wfksimc

Ghulam Moyhuddin, Head Imam, Ashton Central Mosque, Ashton

Fiyaz Mughal, Director, Faith Matters and the TELL MAMA anti-Muslim Monitoring Project, London

Zubaiar Muhammadi, Afghan Isamic Culture Centre

Gul Muhammed, Imam and Senior lecturer, Jamia al Karam, Retford

Maulana Farooq Mulla, Imam, Leicester

Aamer Naeem, Editor in Chief, British Muslim TV, Yorkshire

Suleman Nagdi MBE, Public Relations Officer, Federation of Muslim Organisations, @fmo_leics

Maulana Syed AbbasNaqvi, Imam

Maulana Syed Najm ul HasanNaqvi, Imam, Manchester

Ifath Nawaz, FFL Council Member, Faiths Forum for London

Maulana Farogul Qaadri, Imam, Glasgow

Maulana Farogh Ahmed Qadri, Imam, Glasgow

Qazi Abdul Latif Qadri, Chief Imam, Central Aylesbuy, Aylesbury

Ali Qureshi, Secretary General, Union of Muslim Organisations UK&EIRE

Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member

Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East

Fazal Rahim, Coordinator, Oldham Interfaith Forum, Oldham

Ayub Rashid, Imam and Chaplain, Muslim Community of Essex

Syed Ali Abbas Razawi, Imam and International Speaker, Majlis Ulema-e-Shia, London

Maulana Shahid Raza, founder trustee of the British Muslim Forum, and Senior Imam, Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester

Maha Rida, Social Affairs officer, Al-Kawther, Al-Kawther, London

Ali Raza Rizvi, President, Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, London

Allama Pir Syed Zahid Hussain Shah Rizvi, Jamia Mosque, Birmingham

Maulana Syed Hassan Abbas Rizvi, Imam & Finance Officer, Majlis Ulema-e-Shia, London

Asif Sadiq, President, National Association of Muslim Police, @asifsadiq

Raheed Salam, All Faiths and None, London, @raheedsalam

Mufti Ghulam Sarwar, Senior Imam, Hanfia Mosque and Educational Institute, Huddersfield

Mufti Imran Sarwar, Secretary, Kirklees Imams & Mosques Advisory Board (KIMAB), Kirklees

Dr. Shuja Shafi, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief executive, Ramadhan Foundation, @mshafiquk

Cllr Chauhdry Shafique MBE, Chairman, Council for Christian Muslim Relations, High Wycombe, Bucks

Amjad Shah, General Secretary, Idaara Maarif-e-Islam, Birmingham

Shafique Shah, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Birmingham

Maulana Syed Sultan Shah, Imam, Leicester

Ismael Lea South, Director, The Salam Project, London & Manchester, @thesalamproject

Amir Taki, Director & Executive Producer, Ahlulbayt TV, London, @AmirTaki

Sh Talat, Board of trustee, MCEC, London

Imam Ghulam Rasool Tipton, Principal, Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust Sandwell & executive member of MINAB, Sandwell, @grashgr

Waseem Zaffar, Councillor, Birmingham

Allama Hafiz Muhammad Sadiq Zia, Jamaia Masjid, Birmingham

Maulana Dr Mohammad Rashid Zia, Imam, London

Maulana Azmat Abbas Zohairi, Imam, Majlis Ulema-e-Shia, Burnley

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