Brother of aid worker beheaded by Islamic State to speak at Newham schools

Mike Haines, brother of murdered aid worker David Haines. Picture: Ken Mears

Mike Haines, brother of murdered aid worker David Haines. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The brother of an aid worker butchered by Islamic State will share his story with Newham pupils as part of an anti-extremism campaign.

Mike Haines, 51, is to visit two of the borough’s schools on a London tour encouraging youngsters to “stand up to hatred”.

His brother David, 44, was captured in Syria five years ago by the militant group, designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many states.

The father-of-two’s 18 months as a hostage ended in a videotaped murder called an “act of pure evil” by former prime minister David Cameron.

“The devastating loss of my brother had a life-changing impact on my family,” Mike said.

“We continue to feel his loss every day. It has not been an easy path to take, to channel that pain into a powerful, positive force for good. But it has been the right one.”

In the aftermath of his brother’s death, Mike felt strongly that he did not want innocent Muslims to be blamed or victimised in his name.

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Defying his brother’s captors’ aims, he made an emotional television appeal for unity and tolerance between different religions and cultures.

He said his brother “was and is loved by all his family” in a statement released by the Foreign Office.

Mike has since campaigned against extremism through his Global Acts of Unity project, meeting world leaders including Pope Francis and former French president Francois Hollande, as well as Mr Cameron.

Last month he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for his tireless work.

His tour of Ealing, Enfield and Newham schools will recount his path from personal pain to advocate for peace, with other themes including tackling knife crime.

Organisers will not release the names of the schools, or the dates of the visits, for security reasons.

“Young people are the peacemakers of the future,” Mike went on.

“I look forward to speaking to the students in Newham. Through ensuring our young people here, and across the country, know how to stand up to hatred we can together tackle extremism wherever we may find it.

“By standing together, with acceptance and understanding, we will defeat those who seek to divide us.”