SHAFAQNA – Victims of Islamic State terrorists including the brother of an aid worker beheaded by the group’s so-called Jihadi John were remembered in a peaceful protest today.
Mike Haines, 51, who has campaigned for peace since his humanitarian brother David was murdered, spoke to a largely Muslim crowd in London at the demonstration, which also marked the religious festival of Ashura.
‘It is important that we react in a positive way against these hate-mongers,’ he said.
‘I mourn my brother every day.
‘However he knew the risks of being a humanitarian worker.
‘He and my family accepted those risks because he was doing important work, helping his fellow man regardless of creed, colour, race or religion.’
Fighting back tears, the retired mental health nurse from Dundee condemned Islamic State’s ‘truly disgusting atrocities’ after his brother’s murder was filmed and posted online.
‘The callous murder of my brother, the bombing of a teenage concert in Manchester, the deplorable attack on a place of worship in Finsbury Park, the inexcusable name-calling of people based on their religion or colour – they all have one thing in common which is to incite hatred,’ he said.
David Haines was held captive for 18 months, during which time he was beaten and tortured along with other hostages before being beheaded on September 13, 2014.
Mr Haines said such unity was essential to fight terrorists, adding hatred ‘steals the humanity from a person’ and society must not let destruction win.
‘It is only by working together that we can combat the hatred of the extremists,’ he said.
It starts on a very basic level as individuals and then pervades upwards through the strata of our society.’
Some finished the demonstration with prayers at a mosque, while others headed to Trafalgar Square.
Faiths Forum For London’s Mustafa Field said Islamic opposition to extremists must be heard.
‘I think that it is important that we are seen to be talking about this,’ he said.
‘Muslims and imams across the country have condemned this threat.
‘We are pushing back against this evil ideology.’
Catriona Robertson, director of the Christian Muslim Forum, said: ‘Today is an important day and this is an important procession.
‘It is something that people from many different backgrounds can learn from.’