Families of slain UK aid workers call for unity

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2014 12:36 PM
Families of slain UK aid workers call for unity

LONDON (AP) — The families of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group urged people of all faiths to unite against the militants' "hateful acts," as hundreds celebrated the life of slain aid worker David Haines at a memorial service in his Scottish hometown.

His brother Michael Haines walked hand-in-hand to a church in the central Scotland city of Perth on Saturday with Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed by the militants in Syria earlier this month.

Those attending were asked to wear bright colors, rather than black, in celebration of Haines' life.

Speakers included Haines' 17-year-old daughter Bethany, and music included the hymn "Amazing Grace" and the song "Going Home," by Scottish band Runrig.

"Tears and laughter are sometimes not as far apart as we imagine, and they were both in church this afternoon," said Rev. Gordon Campbell, who led the service at Perth Congregational Church.

In a letter published in the Guardian newspaper, Barbara Henning and Michael Haines urged people of all backgrounds "to find a single act of unity — one simple gesture, one act, one moment — that draws people together."

They said that "we will not allow the actions of a few people to undermine the unity of people of all faiths in our society. ... Together we have the power to defeat the most hateful acts."

David Haines, a 44-year old former air force engineer, was working for the ACTED agency helping refugees from the Syrian civil war when he was abducted in March 2013 near the Turkish border. A video of his killing was released last month.

Henning, a taxi driver from northwest England, was delivering aid when he was kidnapped in December.

IS militants have also killed U.S. reporter James Foley and American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, and threatened another American, Abdul-Rahman Kassig. The group also holds British photojournalist John Cantlie.