Murdered aid worker’s brother gives talk to Langdon Park pupils in Poplar on radicalisation
PUBLISHED: 19:10 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 19:21 28 March 2017
The brother of murdered aid worker David Haines who was decapitated by jihadists in Syria has been giving a talk to school pupils in London’s East End as part of a national programme to stop radicalisation.
Michael Haines addressed pupils at Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary today to promoting tolerance.
He dedicates his days visiting schools, colleges and youth groups.
“David’s execution has taken over my life,” he told the East London Advertiser.
“We were the best of friends. I not only lost a brother, but one of my best friends.”
The gruesome video showing David’s execution in 2013 prompted revulsion and condemnation after being posted on the internet.
Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time: “The murder of David Haines is an act of pure evil—we will do everything to hunt down these murderers to face justice, however long it takes.”
For Michael, now 50, it was difficult having to tell his family about his younger brother’s execution.
“We could have taken that path to hatred,” he said.
“But I thought about the killing. David wasn’t some VIP, but an aid worker. He was nothing to them.
“They wanted my family to stand up and spout hate. It would be easy to take that dishonourable downward path—but David worked for all people.”
David had been in Syria just 10 days when he was kidnapped. The father-of-two had been surveying sites for refugee camps when an armed gang abducted him and another aid worker near the Turkish border.
The 44-year-old former RAF aircraft engineer started in humanitarian aid in 1999, serving in the UN to “help whoever needed it, whatever race, creed or religion”.
He ended up the third Western hostage beheaded by so-called ‘Islamic State’.
His brother’s lectures on the dangers of being radicalised on the internet impressed Langdon Park’s sixthform students.
Thmid Siddiq said: “You can see the pain and what affect it has had on his life. But he is using that pain to do something proactive.”
Thaqia Rahim said: “It’s hard to be in today’s society without having hate thrown at you. Then we come across people like Mike Haines with something very bad in their past who have the passion that goes beyond hate. That really impressed me.”
Jhania Uddin said: “I’m amazed at how forgiving people like Mike are when things have been so hard on them.”
Schools in Tower Hamlets have become sensitive to radicalisation since the flight of four pupils from Bethnal Green Academy in 2014-15 who made their way to Syria to join ‘IS’.
Langdon Park’s Head of Year 13 Sarah-Jane Gordon said: “A woman came here last year to talk to our Muslim girls who told me afterwards they never understood why on earth those girls from Bethnal Green would possibly go to Syria and what kind of mentality you would have to do that. But they understood after the talk the way young women can be enticed over the internet.
“People out there who try and brainwash them with extreme Islamist or right-wing ideologies, trying to radicalise vulnerable young people using the same tactics as paedophiles.”
Mike Haines’ talks to schools and youth groups are aimed at educating youngsters to increase awareness of those tactics.