​Families of David Haines & Alan Henning back Muslim-led anti-ISIS campaign

Mike Haines, brother of David Haines who was executed by Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria, and Barbara Henning, wife of Alan Henning who was also executed by IS militants (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)
The families of British aid workers murdered by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) have backed a Muslim-led campaign to combat extremists who target communities in the UK.

David Haines and Alan Henning were beheaded last year by IS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known by the moniker Jihadi John. The murders caused outrage across the world after videos of the deaths appeared online.

Their families have now voiced support for the ‘Fightback Starts Here’ campaign, a movement launched on Thursday to tackle the threat of radicalization.

The campaign, under the hashtag #FightBackStartsHere, is supported by more than 100 charities, inter-faith groups and community leaders.

Haines’ brother Mike and Henning’s widow Barbara signed open letters supporting the movement. Haines described radicalization and extremism as “the biggest challenge facing communities in the UK.

I have travelled across the country in recent months, as part of my journey following the murder of my brother David by IS, and I have seen the sheer determination of communities to come together in the face of this serious threat,” Mike Haines said in a statement.

We cannot allow terrorist gangs to polarize our communities, we must stand united, pool our resources and expertise in tackling radicalization and extremism, and send a clear message to those who wish to cause us harm that they will not defeat us.

I am proud to add my name to the Fightback Starts Here campaign and I will do whatever I can to support this incredible initiative,” he added.

Barbara Henning also pledged her support for the campaign, describing IS as “monsters.”

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Like my family, communities across the UK are being affected by the serious threat of radicalization and extremism by monsters like ISIS. Their ability to use social media and the internet to spread hate must be stopped,” she said in a statement.

Now is the time that as a country, we come together and do everything within our power as a united community, to stop these vicious and poisonous groups from stealing our loved ones away, which is why I fully support the #FightBackStartsHere campaign.

The campaign is led by the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organization (FMO). In an open letter, signatories pledged to work together to defeat terrorism and extremism.

We invite everyone who loves life – whether non-government, government, voluntary or private sector – to join us in shaping these solutions, because we know we face a common and determined enemy. It demands a common and determined response,” the letter states.

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We can – we must – win this battle together. The fightback starts here.

The campaign’s launch follows the inauguration of a joint-United States and United Arab Emirates counter-terrorism center based in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The Sawab Center aims to tackle IS by using social media to counter IS ideology and present “moderate and tolerant voices from across the region.”

US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel told Alhurra TV the goal of the center is to tell potential recruits “that the mythology of what Daesh [IS] is creating is false, you know, the caliphate isn't a paradise – there’s no plumbing, there’s no electricity, there’s no Internet access.”