The brother of a British man beheaded by ISIS has told Vatican Radio that one of the final videos of his captured brother continues to haunt him.
Following a meeting with the Pope at the end of his general audience in St Peter’s Square, Mike Haines, brother of murdered David Haines, talked to Vatican Radio about the time he first saw his brother following his capture in a video showing the murder of aid worker Stephen Sotloff.
He said the look on his brother’s face in the video still kept him awake at night.
Mr Haines said: “When David first appeared in the video we knew that it was a matter of days – that look on his face … Of course it was plastered everywhere. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing that photograph. That haunts me. That more than pictures of his murder – that picture with Stephen haunts me more.”
Mr Haines also said he was very moved at meeting the Pope in St Peter’s Square. He said: “I had tried to prepare words to say to him when we were taken up everything just went out of my head. I get quite nervous – he could see that. So he made me feel at ease by speaking to me first. He said he prayed for my brother that he was going to pray for me to continue the work I am doing and he was praying for my family which gave me that little bit of space to be able to say the words I wanted to say which were about the determined work with this message of unity and tolerance and understanding between different faiths, different communities, different ethnic groups, to fight what these terrorists around the world are trying to do.”
He added through tears: “It was very, very moving as you can tell.”
David Haines was captured by ISIS in early 2013 and beheaded in September last year.
In his work to bring different religious communities together, Mr Haines said he regularly visits mosques and that Muslims approach him begging for forgiveness. He said: “I was very lucky to visit my good friend’s mosque in Redbridge and it’s become quite a common thing that every time I go to a mosque people come up and beg forgiveness and I say to them ‘there is nothing to forgive!’ They aren’t of your people, they aren’t of your religion, they are using it as an excuse. One gentleman had said to me you have lost a brother – your brother was decaptitated but they’re decapitating our religion.”