Compassion is at the heart of every great religion. (Karen Armstrong)
That’s good, because if it weren’t, religious zealots might do some really horrible things now and then.
A British aid worker kidnapped in Pakistan in January has been found dead, the Foreign Office has said.
Khalil Dale, 60, who worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was kidnapped in Quetta, south-west Pakistan.
The body of the Muslim convert was found in an orchard in Quetta with a note saying he had been killed by the Taliban, local police said…It is understood the militants holding Mr Dale had asked for a very large ransom which could not be paid.
The BBC doesn’t say so, but other headlines I saw said he was beheaded.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “He had many friends around the world and regularly travelled back to Dumfries where he was well known and loved.”
He had worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross for many years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young said Khalil first worked overseas for the Red Cross in 1981 in Kenya, where he distributed food and helped improve the health of people affected by severe drought.
He also worked in Sudan before his posting to Pakistan.
Sir Nick added: “He was a gentle, kind person, who devoted his life to helping others, including some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
So, to be perfectly honest, really the last kind of person who should be kidnapped and then murdered when the money wasn’t forthcoming. Most of us aren’t like that; I’m certainly not; people who are like that shouldn’t be murdered.
Shiela Howatt, who worked with Mr Dale when he was a staff nurse at Dumfries Infirmary in the 1990s, said he was “no stranger to danger”, and had previously been captured in Mogadishu.
“He was an absolutely lovely person devoted to caring for others less fortunate than himself,” she told the BBC.
“He spent his time in war-torn countries where help was needed, where people were desperate and that was Ken’s role in life.”
Mrs Howat, who knew Mr Dale for 25 years, said his fiancee Anne, who is also a nurse, lives in Australia.
The MP for Dumfries and Galloway, Russell Brown, said he also counted Mr Dale as a friend.
“We were all hoping for a somewhat more satisfactory end, but dare I say my thoughts are also tinged with a degree of anger,” he said.
“He went out to do good work in a foreign land, helping people out there as he’s done for many years in different parts of the world, and he gets captured, kidnapped, and meets a horrific death.”
Bad. Very bad.