British aid worker Alan Henning is still alive in captivity with the Islamic State, his wife asserted Wednesday, noting that the terrorist group sent her and UK authorities audio of her husband pleading for his life. Henning was threatened with becoming the focus of a fourth “Jihad John” beheading video in the aftermath of the killing of David Haines.
The BBC reports that the recording is being kept confidential, and no details have been released, save for Henning urging his wife on the recording to “respond to my messages and contact me before it is too late.” Instead of releasing said recording, Henning’s wife, Barbara, has released her own plea for her husband’s freedom and a message to the Islamic State to let him go.
“Islamic State continue to ignore our pleas to open dialogue,” she asserts, noting that Henning’s work in the Middle East was not one of a soldier, but of a humanitarian aid worker, working with a Muslim group. “He was working with Muslims to help the most vulnerable within Syria,” she says. “Nothing has changed. He went to Syria to help his Muslim friends deliver much needed aid.”
Henning, an aid worker who focused much of his career in Syria, appeared toward the end of the third beheading video released by the Islamic State, in which a man known as “Jihad John” beheaded hostage David Haines. The threat: that Henning would be next if the West did not submit to the demands of the Islamic State.
Because of his relationship with Muslims within Syria, Henning’s case has become one of the more controversial ones among jihadists, many of whom have decried his potential beheading as Haram because of his lack of affiliation with any of the so-called “Crusader” powers. As Nick Hallett at Breitbart London notes, multiple ISIS sympathizers and assorted jihadists have noted that killing an aid worker with no ties to the fight against the west is “definitely Haram,” while the article quotes an unidentified jihadist as believing Henning to have been given safe passage by a Sunni fighter, which would make him an even more unsavory target to the Sunni terrorist group.
Nonetheless, the Islamic State appears not to be interested in letting him go. A fellow volunteer and friend of Henning revealed that the group did not accept an offer for a ransom. Aid workers with Henning when he was captured said they were initially told Henning was to be “checked out to make sure he’s with the charity,” but later told he would remain with them indefinitely.
Below, via UK’s Channel 4 news, is believed to be the last video of Henning before his abduction: