Scotland

Charity calls for David Haines release in Syria

David Haines

The aid agency which employs a British man who is being held hostage in Syria has called for him to be released.

David Haines, 44, from Perth, was kidnapped last year while helping French agency Acted deliver humanitarian aid. He is being held by Islamic State (IS) militants.

Acted said it strongly condemned the "violence and threats" against him.

It came as Imams across Scotland called for all hostages to be freed.

IS has already beheaded two American journalists, posting the evidence on the internet in gruesome videos featuring a masked jihadist with a British accent.

Acted said it was "deeply shocked" by images of Mr Haines which were broadcast earlier this week, and said threats to his life were "intolerable".

The aid agency added: "David has been working as a humanitarian since 1999, helping victims of conflict in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.

"When he was taken hostage in March 2013, David was in Syria as part of Acted's humanitarian effort in support of tens of thousands of people affected by the crisis.

"We have been mobilised from day one with David's family. More than ever, we are pursuing our efforts, and our thoughts are with David and his family.

"Acted strongly condemns the violence and threats against David. A man's life should never be threatened on account of his humanitarian commitment. Once again, we call upon the immediate release of David."

Imams across Scotland are using Friday prayers to reiterate their opposition to extremism and call for all hostages to be released.

'Serious harm'

They urged young Muslims not to travel to Syria or Iraq or to support extremist groups.

A joint statement from the Muslim Council of Scotland and Glasgow's Central Mosque said: "The Scottish Muslim community unequivocally condemns the barbaric actions of IS (formerly known as ISIS).

"The actions of IS are against the teachings of Islam and therefore supporting or joining such an organisation is unacceptable.

"We urge all our young people in particular not to travel to Iraq or Syria to support or fight with IS.

"Their actions not only cause serious harm in those countries, but also cause harm to their families here in Scotland and the wider Muslim community."

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