At the end of the latest horrific video from ISIS, showing the beheading of hostage David Haines, another hostage appears. His name is Alan Henning, and though he is still alive in the video, the executioner threatens his life next based on Prime Minister David Cameron's future actions toward ISIS.
Henning is a 47-year-old Englishman who works as a cab driver. Haines was a Scottish aid worker. The Islamic State's two previous victims, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were American reporters. The executioner, known only as Jihadi John, is believed to be from London.
Last December, Henning joined a volunteer aid mission headed to Syria; he had been on several such missions before. He helped to raise money for the mission, which went to purchasing much-needed medical equipment that would be carried to a hospital in Idlib, Syria, on a convoy. That convoy was stopped by gunmen on the Turkish border, and it was then that Henning was taken hostage. His friends that were on the mission with him were let go.
His coworker and an organizer of the aid trip, Kasim Jameel, told The Guardian, "Alan is a man who is full of compassion and we are just praying to Allah that he is released safe and sound...I could tell a lot of stories about the good that Alan has done and about how, as a non Muslim, he has helped Muslims who have suffered in the conflict. He is the nicest of nice guys who has done so much to help other people. He is just a normal bloke, an everyday taxi driver who wanted to do good. We are thinking about him all the time and praying that he will be allowed home to his family."
Henning has two teenage children and has been married to his wife, Barbara Henning, for 23 years. Henning was a very dedicated volunteer aid worker, Jameel noted that Henning has a large tattoo on his arm that reads "Aid For Syria."
A fellow hostage said that Henning hoped he would be released and was in "good spirits" when they shared a cell early this year. At that time, Henning thought he would be freed for all of his relief work. His cell mate escaped and learned later that Henning was transferred to another holding area in Raqqa, Syria. (Foley, on the other hand, was held in Aleppo, Syria).
A close friend of the Henning family told The Telegraph that in some ways, Henning's humanitarian work has made his hostage experience slightly more bearable, noting he was treated well, "He had his own mattress because the militant guys knew he was over there doing good."
The Henning family has not yet commented on Alan's captivity. His brother Reginald said only, "We’ve been told by the Home Office to appreciate the family’s privacy."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.