Alan Henning 'was moved by the suffering of the Syrian people'

Story highlights

  • British taxi driver Alan Henning was delivering aid to Syria when he was abducted
  • His peers nicknamed the father of two "Gadget"
  • His wife and friends appealed to ISIS to spare Henning's life
On Christmas Day last year, Alan Henning was sitting in a brightly lit cafe in southern Turkey, sharing a laugh with his friends before they set off on their journey.
Henning, a big-hearted taxi driver from Bolton, northern England, was part of a team of volunteers traveling from Britain to Syria to deliver aid to people in need.
Nicknamed "Gadget" by his peers, Henning was the only non-Muslim in the convoy. He sacrificed Christmas, weekends and family time to do his part for those worst hit by Syria's civil war, and was admired by his fellow volunteers.
On Friday, his life of sacrifice ended. A short video released by ISIS showed the apparent beheading of Henning.
Before he was killed, Henning spoke to the camera, referencing the British Parliament's decision to join the bombing campaign against ISIS. At the end of the video, ISIS shows an American aid worker, Peter Kassig, and threatens his life.
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Henning, a father of two, had made four trips to the war-torn country. While part of the aid convoy stopped at the Turkish border, Henning was part of a much smaller group that volunteered to press ahead into Syria.
In video shot that day, he explained part of his rationale for answering the call to help. "It's all worthwhile when you see what is needed actually gets where it needs to go," he said, before hugging a colleague.
Henning was kidnapped by ISIS a day after the video was made. His colleagues remembered why he came to Syria.
"Alan was moved by the suffering of the Syrian people, in particular the children," his colleague Abu Abdullah said in a YouTube plea to his colleague's captors.
His wife made a public plea for ISIS to spare his life. Barbara Henning's pleas were joined by voices of Muslim leaders around the world.
They included Shaykh Haitham Al Haddad, a judge on the Shariah Council in London, who said that "whatever your grievance with American or British foreign policy, executing this man is not the answer."