Mourners from many faiths united in a service of reflection on Sunday for aid worker Alan Henning, killed by Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.
More than 500 people, including Henning’s widow, Barbara, and their two children, Lucy, 17, and Adam, 15, attended the service at Eccles Parish Church in Manchester.
The 47-year-old taxi driver was captured by IS in December while he was delivering aid to Syria.
A video was released late on Friday purporting to show his death by beheading, in the same manner as three other American and British IS hostages.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, who was at the service, described Henning as a “martyr” who had paid the “ultimate sacrifice”.
“Within the Greater Manchester area it’s part of our tradition to come together at times of tragedy,” Bishop David said, according to the Times. “This won’t divide us, it will simply reaffirm us in our commitment to one another and to the future of the world of which we are a part.”
Yellow ribbons have been tied around his hometown in remembrance, and flowers have been laid outside the Hennings’ home and the minicab office where he used to work.
A memorial fund has been set up in his name by Dr Shameela Islam-Fulfigar, who was with Henning on the aid convoy from which he was captured.
Bishop David said in a statement on Saturday: “In his life Alan Henning united people across the boundaries of nationality and faith. He did so both through his humanitarian actions and by the love that drove him on. That his tragic death continues to unite people across Britain and beyond is demonstrated today by the range of people and organisations paying him tribute.
“To ISIS we say: You no longer have the power to shock us, now you just sicken us. Your brutality, against any who don’t share your narrow, perverted worldview, doesn’t undermine our determination, it stiffens our resolve. Your destiny is not to be a force in human history, merely one of its sad footnotes.”
Many Muslims had campaigned for Henning’s release after the threat of his beheading was released on September 13.
Imam Asim Hussain said at Manchester Central Mosque yesterday: “The killing of Alan Henning was a cowardly and criminal act of appalling brutality, by a group who do not represent Islam at all, and in fact are an insult to the Islamic faith.”
Hussain, who attended the memorial service, described Henning as a “local and national hero”.
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