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Salford cabbie is 'local hero in our thoughts and prayers.' Message from Greater Manchester Mosques

Hostage Alan Henning called 'local hero' in statement from Mosques

Mosques throughout Greater Manchester are delivering a joint message calling for the release of the man they're calling their 'local hero' Alan Henning, the Salford taxi driver, being held by Islamic State.

Alan who's 47 was kidnapped in December while he was delivering aid in Syria.

Earlier this week more than 150 people attended a vigil in Bolton appealing for his safe return.

The message to be read at Friday prayers says Mr Henning is a local hero and appeals to those holding him to have understanding, compassion and mercy.

The joint statement is signed by a number of Mosques and groups in Greater Manchester.

‘We believe it is important to appeal for the release of a courageous humanitarian Alan Henning and for his family to know they are in our thoughts and prayers.’’

– Qadir Ahmad Chohan Welfare officer Manchester Central Mosque

‘It is important for a clear message to be sent to those holding Alan Henning that he is our local hero who as a sincere and caring humanitarian went to the region to help the Syrian people in their hour of need. We want the family to know that Alan Henning is in our thoughts and we pray for his safe and speedy return.’

– Imam Assim Manchester Central Mosque will read out statement at Friday prayers


Sir Peter Fahy: We are bothered about Syria

A centre aimed at taking aid to Syria has opened in Manchester today.

It is being supported by the police and city council, and aims at providing an alternative to travelling to Syria to help or fight.

It is believed that twin sisters Salma and Zahra Halane, from Manchester, left home last month in order to travel to the war-torn country.

When asked if he thought the Syria Relief centre could have helped stop the girls fleeing the country in order to help fight, Sir Peter Fahy said it could have.

He said: "Sometimes, some people in the Muslim community have felt we aren't bothered about Syria. But that's not the case. I think we're all bothered about Syria."

Syria aid centre opens in Manchester to deter fighters

Volunteers at the Syria Relief aid centre Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Today marks the launch of an initiative for volunteers to help humanitarian aid in Syria, to deter young men and women from going to fight in the war ravaged country.

Volunteers at the Syria Relief aid centre Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The charity Syria Relief in Manchester is being backed by Greater Manchester Police and the council, with the opening of a new volunteering facility where humanitarian aid can be donated and packaged before being sent to Syria.

Volunteers at the Syria Relief aid centre Credit: ITV Granada Reports

It comes after a number of young men and women have left their homes in the city to get involved in the troubled country.


Syria aid centre to open

People living under a siege in Yarmouk camp Credit: PA Images

A new centre's to open in Manchester later to take aid to Syria. People will be able to bring donations of food, clothes and blankets and to get involved in packing them onto containers.

It's being supported by the police, the city council and Syria Relief to provide an alternative to travelling to Syria to help.

GMP Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “We know there are many people in Greater Manchester and nationally who want to support the millions of people who are caught up in the Syrian conflict.

"Anyone who does travel there is putting themselves in considerable danger and that is why this volunteering facility is so valuable right here in Greater Manchester, giving people the opportunity to donate and assist with the humanitarian effort without putting themselves and others in danger."

Chairman of Syria Relief, Dr Basil Hatahet said: "While the news currently focuses on the brutality of the war and the emergence of fundamentalist groups in Syria, the ever-worsening humanitarian situation and human suffering continue.

“This joint initiative between Syria Relief, Manchester City Council and Great Manchester Police invites the citizens of Manchester to help alleviate the suffering by giving their time and efforts, as well as their financial and in-kind donation in a safe and practical way."

Police warning over joining Syria conflict

A plea has gone out to Muslim families in our region to stop their sons travelling to Syria to fight in the civil war.

Counter terrorism officers say more and more young men are not only going to fight - they're also becoming radicalised and then arrested when they return home.

As a nationwide campaign started today, our correspondent Mel Barham reports on appeals being carried out by Greater Manchester Police.

Police warning to young people over dangers of travelling to Syria

Greater Manchester Police join national campaign to warn young people of the dangers of travelling to Syria. Credit: PA

Greater Manchester Police has joined a national campaign to warn young people of the dangers of travelling to Syria.

An event taking place today, hosted by Greater Manchester Police, will aim to reach out to Muslim women in particular to prevent their loved ones joining the conflict.

The number of people travelling to Syria from the UK is judged to be in the low hundreds and information that is available shows that the number of Syria-related arrests has increased substantially in 2014.

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