THE brother of a humanitarian aid worker who was murdered by Islamic State militants says the district’s young people are “determined” to pursue positive changes to make the area a better place.

David Haines, 44, of Perth, Scotland, was working in Syrian refugee camps when he was kidnapped in March 2013.

Horrific footage of the father-of-two’s murder at the hands of the killer dubbed Jihadi John was released on the internet later that year.

Since then his brother Mike Haines has visited groups and schools across the world spreading a message of unity, tolerance and understanding.

He recently visited 16 schools in Bradford district, including Holy Family in Keighley, to spread his message as part of his Global Acts of Unity Schools Tour. He has also visited Keighley College.

He said it was important he came to Bradford as there had been a reported rise in hate crimes in the district.

Mr Haines had also been in the district last September for the launch of the Bradford Hate Crime Strategy.

He believes the rise in hate crime reports is down to people in the district being more willing to stand up to unacceptable behaviour than they would have been a few years ago.

On his visits to district schools, he said: “The young people should be really proud of themselves, they were absolutely incredible.

“All of the schools I visited were very diverse, and you can see the determination in students to make positive changes. I’ve been really privileged to see the strength in so many young people. A lot of them came to me and told them what I was saying really made them think.

“I think the reason for a rise in hate crime in Bradford is because people feel they can report it. It is that more people are seeing the importance of reporting it, rather than standing by and letting it happen.”

He added: “The press has reported on the anxieties young people in the area have about terrorism. Having lost my brother to terrorism, I have more cause than most to know just how overwhelming those concerns and anxieties can be.

“I am also aware how corrosive fear can be, and how, by allowing those feelings to take control, in many ways we are only doing the terrorists’ jobs for them.

“Having spent time in Yorkshire recently I was thrilled at how engaged, welcoming and open to debate the kids were. Although the young people in these schools came from different backgrounds, what I witnessed within those walls was unchanging: across the board, I was greeted with compassion, empathy and a hearty Yorkshire welcome.

“The next generation is showing encouraging signs as well. To see young people in Bradford so willingly discuss these issues and receive my story with great enthusiasm and positivity gives me tremendous hope for the future.

“From my visits over the years, it could not be clearer that Bradford’s diversity is in fact one of its greatest strengths.

“My father, an aircraft engineer, always said to me, a mixed alloy is stronger than a base metal – and Bradford represents this ethos.”