A British aid worker from Birmingham posted a heartfelt message to everyone who prayed for his safety and release after he was kidnapped by a gang of criminals in northern Syria.
Mohammed Shakiel Shabir was abducted at gunpoint next to his apartment block in November.
He was subsequently tortured and held hostage for over six weeks by a gang of criminals in Idlib.
The perpetrators wanted $4m ransom in Bitcoin for Mr Shabir’s release, knowing full well that we he was an aid worker from Britain.
On Friday 11 January, Mr Shabir was rescued at night by fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) rebel group.
Most of the perpetrators have been caught, jailed and await sentencing.
This is the touching message he posted on Facebook to his supporters and well-wishers:
“Asalaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu my dear brothers and sisters and family and friends. First of all I want to thank each and every one of you who prayed for me. Most of you are aware that a few months ago I was kidnapped by a criminal gang inside Syria who I will name soon. They kept locked in chains from head to toe and tortured me on almost a daily basis and kept me drugged up. I was kept in dark cold rooms in an isolated part of Syria.
“My kidnappers demanded a huge ransom for my release. During this time in captivity I reflected a lot about my life and it gave me the opportunity to become closer to Allah and become stronger in my belief even through all the torture and abuse.
“A week before I was rescued, my kidnappers told me that they will kill me because they have not received any money. I didn’t doubt them because of the way they used to torture me. So I prayed to Allah and started to prepare myself for my death. I begged Allah for forgiveness on a daily basis and due to my strong belief in the will of Allah, I knew that I will die as a shaheed insha’Allah. This belief gave me strength and courage. I was happy in a way that I’m going to meet my creator and I’d be dying as a shaheed (martyr). I was slightly sad that I didn’t get the chance to say bye to all.my family and friends but due to my faith, I knew Allah will be sufficient for them.
“2 days before I was going to be executed, Allah sent the brother’s to my rescue. It was like a dream. For those of you have seen the video of my rescue operation, you can see that I was stunned and terrified initially because I didn’t know if these people were my rescuers or the kidnappers who were about to execute me. However it took a moment until I realised and I praised Allah for this amazing chance. Most of my kidnappers have been arrested and are in prison.
“I have been undergoing treatment for my injuries and also time to recover. Alhamdulillah for everything. I truly believe that it was my test from Allah and I’m grateful to Allah for everything. I pray that Allah accepts it.
“This picture was taken at the time of my rescue. It’s far better than the video.
“Once again I want to say jazakallah khayr and thank you to everyone one of you who prayed for me during my time of difficulty. I also want to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from anyone I may have hurt intentionally or unintentionally whether with my words or my actions.
“I’m not giving up on my work I do to help the poor, needy and oppressed around the world. If anything I’m coming back stronger and more committed. I ask everyone to please help continue to support me to support the poor, needy and oppressed around the world. Xxx”