Cardinal Nichols condemns killing of aid worker David Haines
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has condemned the murder of British aid worker David Haines, whose death was announced last weekend in a video released by IS militants in Syria.
In a statement, the cardinal said: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the killing of David Haines in what can only be described as a repugnant and chilling attack.
“In its destructive savagery, it is an act that expresses the worst and most misguided aspects of human nature.”
Born in Holderness, East Yorkshire, Mr Haines went to school in Perth and had been living in Croatia with his second wife, who is Croatian, and their four-year-old daughter. His parents live in Ayr.
In a statement, the murdered man’s brother, Mike Haines said his brother, a father of two, “was and is loved by all his family”.
“David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair,” he said.
It was his humanitarian work that helped David stand out from others, Cardinal Nichols said.
“In contrast to his murderers, I wish to pay tribute to David Haines, who by his untiring service to those who suffer the ravages of war, lived a life that demonstrated all that is best in humanity.
“His concern for others manifested itself in his commitment to helping others, without counting the cost to himself, ultimately paying the price with his life.
“My thoughts and prayers are for his family and for all who knew him and were touched by him. I stand with others of all faiths and none in condemning this savagery and asking for a renewed political resolve to work for lasting peace and the upholding of human dignity for all in the Middle East.”
The archbishop’s words were echoed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
He said: “We are living through a time when it seems that daily the darkness deepens, the shadows fall, the weight of human evil seems to grow and even those who stand up for what is good find themselves assailed on every side.
“All of us will have heard of the brutal, cruel murder of David Haines. He was in the Middle East on humanitarian work, he had gone to serve the people of Syria and Iraq, and his captors captured him, held him, toyed with the hopes of freedom, and then killed him.
“And so where is Christ in that? On Holy Cross Day we are reminded above all that he is with David Haines, that he is in the depths of evil and the depths of our own suffering because of the Cross.”
Shuja Shafi of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “These extremists wish to draw attention and recruits to their cause by sowing division and fear between people here in Britain. Let us deny them that luxury.”
Concern is also rising over the fate of another British man held captive by IS militants.
Alan Henning, a 47-year-old former taxi driver from Salford, was kidnapped on Boxing Day last year and is rumoured to be held by the same group of militants who killed Mr Haines.
The father-of-two, who is married, was helping take aid to refugees in the war-torn country.
A fellow volunteer Kasim Jameel, who travelled with Mr Henning to Syria last year said his friend was “an amazing guy. He is the best of the best.”
Fighting back tears Mr Jameel said: “He is my best friend and I am praying for him.”