The brother of a British aid worker brutally murdered by Islamic State has made a plea for unity and tolerance in the UK a year on from his death.
Sunday marks a year since the family of David Haines were told he had been executed in Syria by the terrorist group after being held prisoner for 18 months.
His elder brother Mike Haines, who has spent the last 12 months working with groups to combat extremist indoctrination of young people in the UK, wants people to come together in memory of his “hero” brother, saying anger and division would only further terrorists’ aims.
Speaking ahead of the anniversary on September 13, he said: “My brother didn’t see other nationalities or religions, he just saw human beings in need of a little help to get by or sometimes a lot of help to live to see another day.
“As the anniversary of his death arrives, I hope he is looking down and is proud of what we, the community of the UK, have achieved and will continue to achieve if we all stand together and remain united.”
Mr Haines, who was from Perth, was one of a string of hostages beheaded by IS, whose filmed executions involved the notorious Terrorist Jihadi John.
The former RAF engineer’s name was eventually made public when he appeared in the background of a video showing the execution of Steven Sotloff, an American journalist also seized by terrorists.
As well as speaking to charities, community groups and religious leaders in the UK, Mr Haines also joined Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was also publicly killed by IS, in meeting Pope Francis.
“The terrorists who killed my brother want to spread their evil and polarise our communities into fearing and hating each other, causing tensions and intolerance,” he said.
“If I had added any fuel to that fire with my reaction to the death of my brother, I would only be doing their job for them and would have been letting David down.”
Mr Haines , also a former RAF engineer, today released a short film in which he talks about the work he has done since his brother’s death.
In it, he says: “These workers, like my brother, they were heroes. David wasn’t a hero because he was my brother, but because he did go and help his fellow man.
“I think this past year has been a real journey of growth for myself. I have met people that I would never have come across in the past, so many fantastic people and organisations who are making a difference.
“I questioned about how effective my talks would be, and whether I was naive in doing them, but I’ve come to see that actually it is effective, it is helping to change.
“I keep saying that we need to hold our hands out in friendship and learn from each other. Unity, tolerance and understanding are such important aspects. We are stronger because of it.”