At the conclusion of today’s General Audience, Pope Francis met with Mike Haines, the brother of David Haines, the British aid worker who was brutally beheaded by the so-called Islamic State.
David Haines was kidnapped in March 2013 while working for the international aid agency, “Acted”. In September 2014, a video of his execution was released by the Islamic State, becoming the third Western victim beheaded by the terrorist organization.
Since then, his brother Mike has dedicated himself to promoting interreligious dialogue and unity against extremism. Joining British ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, he shared his message this morning with the Holy Father.
Prior to the General Audience Ambassador Baker released a press statement, saying: Mike Haines will be bringing to the Vatican his message of interreligious understanding. Pope Francis has called for a common commitment to end fighting, hatred and violence. Mike Haines is living that commitment in an extraordinary way.”
One month after the death of his brother, Haines co-signed a letter with Barbara Henning, widow of Alan Henning, another murdered IS victims. In it, they said they wrote the letter because “we will not allow the actions of a few people to undermine the unity of people of all faiths in our society.”
“We urge churches, mosques and synagogues to open their doors and welcome people of all faiths and none,” the letter stated.
“All these simple acts of unity will, in their thousands, come together to unite us and celebrate the lives of David and Alan. This is what David and Alan truly stood for.”
According to the communique sent by the British ambassador, Haines was also accompanied by London Imam Shahnawaz Haque.