Fears have intensified forBritish hostage Alan Henning with a radical preacher calling on the Islamic State to spare him, after his wife revealed she has received an audio message from her husband pleading for his life.
Abdullah el-Faisal, the ex-imam of Brixton mosque linked to shoe-bomber Richard Reid and jailed for four years in 2003, released a YouTube video saying sharia law "doesn't allow you to kill" a man like Henning.
El-Faisal has been unrepentant in his enthusiasm for Islamic State's actions in Syria and Iraq, and praised the kidnap and rape of Yazidi girls, calling them “spoils of war”. But the Jamaican, sat behind a desk and holding up a copy of the Koran, said in his near three-minute long video that Henning was the wrong Westerner to target.
“This is a message to my brothers in the Islamic state. It is well known to the world that you have a hostage by the name of Alan Henning and that his life is in jeopardy," he said.
“I’ve spoken to many people about Alan Henning and everyone spoke well about him. He loves people. He’s a good Samaritan. He’s a philanthropist. He is a sympathiser to Muslims. “To kill someone like that, an aid worker, is un-Islamic. The Sharia law doesn't allow you to kill someone like Alan Henning.
"There is a verse in the Holy Koran that speaks about people like Alan Henning, it says.. you should be kind to them and be just in the law. Verily, Allah loves those who deal in justice.
"Alan Henning is not antagonistic towards Muslims, it is un-Islamic to kill such a person. It goes against sharia law to kill aid workers. Therefore, I plead, I beg of you in the name of God to set this good Samaritan free,” he concluded.
“Killing him has no blessing, it will backfire on the Islamic State in a very bad way, the damage will not be able to be repaired. I beg of you, set this good Samarian free. I have said what I have said."
Last night, the hostage's wife Barbara Henning called for the militant group to "open their hearts and minds" and said she had been told that a Sharia court had found her husband innocent of being a spy.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, she said: "I have a further message for Islamic State. An audio file of Alan pleading for his life has just been received by me. I and people representing me continue to reach out to those holding Alan. Islamic State continue to ignore our pleas to open dialogue.
"I have seen Muslims across the globe question Islamic State over Alan's fate. The voices of the people have spoken out loud and clear. He was working with Muslims to help the most vulnerable within Syria. Nothing has changed. He went to Syria to help his Muslim friends deliver much needed aid.
"We are at a loss why those leading Islamic State cannot open their hearts and minds to the facts surrounding Alan's imprisonment and why they continue to threaten his life.
"I have been told that he has been to a Sharia court and found innocent of being a spy and declared to be no threat. I implore Islamic State to abide by the decisions of their own justice system. Please release Alan."
Dozens of Muslim leaders in Britain have also urged the Islamic State group to release the former taxi driver from Salford, who was kidnapped last December in Syria by IS militants. The 47-year-old aid worker was shown at the end of a video released earlier this month after the beheading of fellow British captive David Haines.
Last week Mrs Henning revealed she had sent messages to IS calling for the release of her husband, who she described as a "peaceful, selfless man".
Yesterday Henning's brother-in-law expressed fears that US-led air strikes could make it harder to find and rescue the hostage. Henning is thought to have been held in the IS stronghold of Raqqa - one of the targets of the latest US-led aerial bombardment.
Colin Livesey said he was scared that the jihadists who have threatened to kill Henning would flee the military assault with the father-of-two.
"It does scare me. Because if they're going to do air strikes on them, they'll just run away," he told ITV News. "They'll take him with them and no one will know where he is again.
"Time will tell if it's worked. I don't want to lose the faith in knowing he's coming home."
He said Henning, who gave up work to take part in an aid mission for the victims of the Syrian civil war, was an "all-round nice guy".
"He thought he was doing the right thing by going up there and helping other people in another country, to give them aid, because that's the sort of guy he is. He just went there, pure and simple, to help kids out. That's all he did it for. He doesn't deserve what's happening to him now," he said.
"The Alan I know is a nice, genuine, down-to-earth guy. He'll do anybody any favours whatsoever. He's a funny lad. He's a loving husband and a loving father to two beautiful kids and an all-round nice guy. He's just an amazing guy and we all love him to bits. He's so passionate about what he does and that makes us so proud of him.
"To do it at Christmas, to miss his own family Christmas to go to Syria, speaks volumes of what a man he is. Which is an amazing bloke. I'm devastated for my sister and his kids. I'm devastated myself and I've got to stay strong and pray.
"And fingers crossed he'll be back home safe because he deserves to be safe because he never did anything wrong. He doesn't deserve this."Suggest a correction