The Daily Mail just mistook a charity worker for the notorious religious head of a jihad-happy Middle East terrorist network. It was a simple mistake anyone could have made, except that nobody else did.
In another appeal online, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, representing British Muslim aid workers, told of the various ways Mr Henning had raised money to bring to Syria, having been moved by the plight of people there.
In an emotional speech to the camera Mr al-Baghdadi said: 'You have the ability to spare the life of this innocent man. We beg you to tread the path of justice and show him the compassion that Allah has placed in the hearts of the believers and in your heart.'
The pleas to ISIS came after footage emerged showing Mr Henning's last day of freedom.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is—as his name suggests—the Baghdad-born Sunni religious leader of ISIS. Surely there was a mixup here?
The appeal, in both Arabic and English and addressed directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who styles himself as caliph of the self-proclaimed state, was posted on YouTube Wednesday, four days after militants threatened to kill the aid convoy volunteer from north-west England.
The friend, who calls himself Abu Abdullah, is understood to have witnessed Alan Henning's abduction near Aleppo last December.
You can watch Abu Abdullah's video above. And if you do, you'll see what's so bloody frustrating about the Mail's mixup: Abu Abdullah complicates oversimplified views—ISIS's and Westerners' alike—of what a Muslim looks and sounds like. He is as comfortable addressing al-Baghdadi, a zealot whose regime is responsible for thousands of brutal murders, and appealing to God in Arabic as he is in describing Henning's compassion and worthiness of mercy.
Will the video help Henning's cause? Perhaps not. But it represents an encouraging shift from media blackouts to heartfelt, diverse activism on the captive's behalf. The least the Mail could do is watch the video and get the facts straight.