SHAFAQNA – Three high-profile British Muslim clerics have made a direct appeal to the Islamic State (Isil) to release the British hostage Alan Henning, warning that killing him would go against Islamic law. The latest plea to free Henning, an aid worker who was kidhnapped in Syria last year, comes from a judge on the Sharia council in London, a Manchester-based cleric and an Imam from Lewisham. All belong to the highly conservative Salafi strand of Islam. In a video posted on YouTube on Friday, Shaykh Haitham Al Haddad, a judge on the Sharia Council, said: “This is to confirm that executing this man is … impermissible, prohibited according to Sharia.”
Henning, 47, a taxi driver from Eccles in Salford, was driving an ambulance in an aid convoy when he was kidnapped just half an hour after crossing the Syrian border on Boxing Day 2013. He is the latest hostage to be threatened with beheading by the Islamic State, appearing at the end of a video in which fellow British hostage David Haines was murdered.
Ustadh Abu Eesa, Manchester-based cleric, said he would “personally vouch” for Henning, warning that killing him would “deface” the religion of Islam.
Imam Shakeel Begg, of the Lewisham Islamic Centre, quotes from the Koran in the video, explaining that there is “no justification in our religion that allows you to continue to hold him let alone harm him”.
They were joined by the notorious jihadi ideologue based in Jordan.
Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, who was released by Jordan in June after serving a five-year sentence on terror charges, said in a statement posted on his website that non-Muslims who aid needy Muslims should be protected.
Isil has released grisly videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker. It has threatened to kill Henning – a British former taxi driver who was taken captive in December shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey in an aid convoy – in retaliation for U.S. and European military action against it.
Also known as Essam al-Barqawi, al-Maqdisi was the mentor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006.
Al-Maqdisi said Henning worked with a charitable organisation led by Muslims which sent several aid convoys to help the Syrian people. “Is it reasonable that his reward is being kidnapped and slaughtered? … He should be rewarded with thanks.”
“We call on the (Islamic) State to release this man (Henning) and other aid group employees who enter the land of Muslims with a guarantee of protection… according to the judgment of Shariah law,” he said, adding that he hoped to “protect the image of Islamic Shariah law from being disfigured.”
Their appeal follows a statement signed by more than a hundred Muslim leaders from various groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain, and published by the Independent, calling for Henning’s life to be spared.
Footage earlier this week showed the aid worker with other aid workers on the Greece-Turkey border in December last year saying the dangerous journey to Syria is “worthwhile” to help those in need.
The appeal for Henning’s life follows the release of a video of British photojournalist John Cantlie, showing Cantlie reading from a prepared script, saying he has been “abandoned” by Britain and appealing for the Government to “negotiate” with his captors.
Unlike previous videos, Cantlie appears alone and is not threatened with beheading.
Meanwhile, 47 hostages seized by Isil militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul have been released.
The hostages, including Turkish diplomats, soldiers and children, were taken from Turkey’s consulate-general in June.
source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11110584/Muslim-scholars-appeal-to-Islamic-State-to-release-British-hostage.html