On a cold October morning in London, as the front-page news of yet another cold-blooded, barbaric and brutal act-of-terror ripples through Britain; 4,000 miles away in the Islamic State – evil, cold-hearted and blood-thirsty terrorists rejoice in their latest atrocious beheading of an innocent – Alan Henning. While here in Britain, a nation mourns her son, a 47-year-old father of two from Salford who in many ways personified modern Britain – a tolerant man who was there in times of need of people of all faiths, a brave man who made the ultimate sacrifice in his service to humanity and a man who spread hope and optimism. Alan Henning’s brutal murder reminds us that this battle we face is not just between arms and ammunition but between humanity and darkness and between good and evil.
Having missed Christmas with his family in his drive to deliver medical equipment to help alleviate the suffering of the desperate people 4,000 miles away in Al-Dana, Syria. Only 30 minutes away from the Turkish border, he was captured by ISIS terrorists, singled out for being the only non-Muslim in the aid convoy he was wrongly accused of being a spy for having a NFC ID chip in his passport, a common standard feature found also in the passports of his fellow British Muslim aid workers.
With reports of Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front trying and failing to negotiate Mr Henning’s release, it is yet further evidence (as if any was needed) of how the Islamic State has transcended Al-Qaeda to quench its repulsive and evil thirst for blood and slaughter. It is quite clear that the Islamic State is asserting with vigour and power its stamp of authority on global jihad – ISIS is the new Emir of Islamist terror and Al-Qaeda is no longer the go-to group for investing money, manpower and muscle in global jihad.
Applauding this latest Islamic State atrocity are groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan who have called on all jihadists to unite behind the Islamic State in global jihad: “In these troubled days, we call on you to be patient and stay united as your enemies are now united against you. Forget rivalries.” The green-tinted vision of ISIS to plant the black flag of Tawheed from London to Delhi is gaining vigorous traction and rapid momentum – the more depraved and brutal their actions, the more popular they become in overshadowing a now increasingly clueless Al-Qaeda leadership.
Prime Minister Cameron has said, “We will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice.” While it is imperative that we urgently bring these murderous terrorists to justice, we must also put together a total and comprehensive plan of action to fight the Islamic State. As with reports of up to 20 Western hostages in custody of the Islamic State, we cannot allow this bi-weekly ritual of beheadings continue any longer. How many more widows must be created and how many more innocents beheaded before we gather the will, courage and strength to provide a total solution to end this evil.
With Parliament recalled from the Conference Recess in a widely welcomed step on 26th September, 524 MPs voted in favour of joining the United States and other allies in air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq. However, we have so far failed to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friend — the United States — in targeting the wider gamut of Islamic State territory across both Iraq and Syria.
Parliament must vote urgently to authorise air strikes by our armed forces to help cut the umbilical cord of ISIS with its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.
We owe it to Alan Henning and his tolerant vision of seeing a world free from suffering, in standing firm and resolute in the face of this brazenly barbaric ISIS, which in its dark quest for world domination and cold-hearted murder of humanity, knows no boundaries. It is about time that we have an Axis-of-Good, creating a new ‘shock and awe’ in the skies and some real havoc on the ground for ISIS – only people on the ground can remove people on the ground. With boots-on-the-ground, we must ensure that ISIS finds no hole to hide in, no rock to recover behind and no safe haven to seek shelter in. Only then can we ensure that this ‘generational struggle’ can be won.
Only then can we ensure that we protect the ‘One World’ we have from the depredations of Islamist extremism. Otherwise, what answer will we give to our children and our grandchildren? Surely, we will not be able to say that we did not know and that we couldn’t do anything to secure their future.
While the world looks on in shock and disbelief, this is a situation where it is not just the national interests of friends such as Britain, India and the United States align and amalgamate but one where we must quickly realise that it is in all our interests in the free world to stand up for our common interests that are close to all our hearts – freedom, democracy and peaceful co-existence.