British Muslim groups on Saturday condemned the killing of the British hostage Alan Henning by the Islamic State, the latest in a series of Western hostages to be executed by the militant group in Syria.
Alan Henning, a British taxi driver who had been in Syria delivering aid when he was kidnapped by militants, was beheaded by IS militants in a video released online on Friday.
At Harrow Central Mosque in north-west London, imam Sheikh Allamma Shafiudin described the killing of Henning as against Islam.
“Any killing without justification or outside the law is against the correct Islam and distorts the image of the religion and Muslims,” he said.
The Muslim Council of Britain also expressed its shock of the murder of Henning.
Its secretary-general, Dr Shuja Shafi, said the killing was “a despicable and offensive act against a man who helped Muslims."
“It is quite clear that the murderers of Alan Henning have no regard for Islam, or for the Muslims around the world who pleaded for his life,” he said in a statement.
“In this period of Hajj and this festival of Eid, Muslims remember the mercy of God and the emphasis God places on human life. Alan Henning's murderers have clearly gone against that spirit of Islam.”
The Islamic festival of Eid Al-Adha, which commemorates Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail in submission to God's will, began on Saturday.
The MCB is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body, with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
Another Muslim organisation praised Henning as a "British hero" for his work in Syria.
“This barbaric killing is an attack against all decent people around the world,” the Ramadhan Foundation said in a formal statement issued by Mohammed Shafiq, its chief executive.
“Henning was a British hero, he put others first and we salute him and his life of service for others,” the statement said.
“Islam not only condemns these crimes but forbids them, those that carry them out are committing crimes against Islam”, it added.
A number of Imams, scholars and Muslim community leaders had earlier publicly appealed to Islamic State militants not to kill Henning or other Western hostages held by the group.