The horrific murder of British aid worker Alan Henning by Islamic State has “backfired” on the terror group and turned Muslim opinion against Mr Henning’s killers, according to a Home Office official charged with fighting radicalization of British Muslims.
Mr Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver from Manchester, was captured last December while on a humanitarian mission delivering aid to Syrian refugees.
He was later beheaded and a video of his killing released on Social Media.
Sulaimaan Samuel, a mentor for Channel, the Home Office programme which protects people at risk from radicalization, told Sky News that the brutal murder had shifted Muslim opinion “wholesale” and had, in fact, prevented further deaths in the on-going conflict between western and Middle Eastern allies and IS.
“The announcement that they were going to execute him, kill him – this really did shift public opinion and it shifted Muslim opinion wholesale”, Mr Samuel said.
“I would personally say to Alan Henning’s family: do not think his death has been some type of waste because it hasn’t, because his death at the hands of IS is the very thing that has caused the Muslim community to realise that what IS stands for is wrong and can never be condoned.
“In Alan’s death he has managed to save thousands of lives now and in the future of people who might potentially have been drawn into going out. He will be saving lives in the future.
“What IS has done has backfired.”
Mr Henning is the fourth westerner executed by IS militants in recent months following the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley as well as Briton David Haines.
The militants continue to hold British journalist John Cantlie hostage and has recently used him as a “reporter” for the group.