17 Sep 2014

Last video of hostage Alan Henning before his kidnap

Communities Editor

The men who travelled to Syria with Islamic State hostage Alan Henning praise his commitment to the humanitarian cause in a video tribute they filmed on Christmas Day 2013, a day before his kidnap.

In the video Mr Henning is seen in a fast food restaurant in Turkey with six other volunteers, who speak of their admiration for his decision to take part in a convoy delivering aid, and therefore miss Christmas with his family.

Speaking of Mr Henning, who is referred to by his nickname Gadget, one man says “he sacrificed, he sacrificed his family yeah. He could be with his friends and family back home. But he’s on his way right now to deliver ambulances and aid to Syria to help our brothers and sisters. Big respect to this guy.”

Another adds “Gadget, I take my hat off to you”, as he shakes Mr Henning by the hand.

“Gadget, you’re a soldier, a massive, massive inspiration, you know what I mean? People are not even getting involved in this type of aid work … It’s priceless, I’m telling you it’s priceless,” says another.

Below: Bilal Abdul Kareem who has been filming IS fighters in Syria, talks to Channel 4 News about efforts to secure Mr Henning’s release.

Responding to the praise Mr Henning, a 47-year-old the father-of-two from Salford, says “it’s all worthwhile when you see what is needed actually get to where it needs to go. That makes it all worthwhile.”

He adds “no sacrifice we do is nothing [sic] compared to what they’re going through every day on a daily basis.”

The next day, just over the border in Syria, he was kidnapped by militants.

On 14 September Mr Henning was seen being threatened with execution in a video released by Islamic State extremists.

He appeared kneeling in the desert, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, at the end of a video showing the brutal murder of British aid worker David Haines.

‘He is a good man’

In a separate development, Muslim aid worker Pervez Abdullah Rafiq, who travelled with Mr Henning on previous trips to deliver aid to Syria, issued a video plea to the leader of Islamic State to release the Briton.

In the video Mr Rafiq says “Your prisoner Alan Henning travelled with us several times to Syria. On all occasions, we your Muslim brothers, brought him with us under our care and protection. The convoy members did not fear entering Syria, and neither did Alan. He felt safe, relaxed and happy, believing – as we did – that no harm could come to him, or us.”

Please do not take his life to pay for the crimes that international governments have committed aid worker, Pervez Abdullah Rafiq

Mr Rafiq recalls that Alan Henning devoted “all his free time” to raising awareness of the suffering of Syrian children and washed cars to raise money for them. He describes how Mr Henning chose to sleep in the van on the journey to Syria rather than pay for a hotel, to avoid spending money that would otherwise go to the people of Syria.

He goes on to state that Mr Henning had ignored British government advice not to go to Syria.