Son’s grief af­ter ter­ror death

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By ASHA ME­HTA

A GRIEF-STRICKEN city taxi driver has con­demned ter­ror­ists who killed his fa­ther and scores of other wor­ship­pers in two mosque attacks in Pak­istan.

Shocked So­hail As­lam (40), of Shake­speare Av­enue, Mill­field, is still reel­ing af­ter learn­ing his 75year-old dad Ilyas Ahmed was one of 84 peo­ple killed when gun­men burst into the mosques dur­ing Fri­day prayers on May 28, pep­per­ing bul­lets and grenades at Ah­madi Is­lamic wor­ship­pers.

The mosque, in Model Town, near La­hore, was packed with around 250 peo­ple.

Mr As­lam, who said his fa­ther hardly ever missed Fri­day prayers, paid trib­ute to the “kind fam­ily man” and, along with the spokesman for the Peter­bor­ough Ah­madiyya Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion, Ata-ul Man­nan, called for an end to the blood­shed and a re­turn to peace.

The fa­ther-of-two said: “My fa­ther used to go to the mosque ev­ery Fri­day. He was area pres­i­dent of the Ah­madi group and peo­ple knew him. “He was very much a fam­ily man and a very kind and po­lite per­son. He loved his chil­dren. We were very close to each other. I would talk to him on the phone ev­ery week and was plan­ning to see him in De­cem­ber. The last time I saw him was in 2006.

“He would al­ways pray for me and was very happy when I bought my house in Peter­bor­ough.

“When I told him my first child was born, he was cry­ing with hap­pi­ness. It has been very painful. It’s shock­ing.”

He first heard about the deaths on TV, dur­ing a break from his shift, but then had a call from his un­cle who de­liv­ered the dev­as­tat­ing news.

Mr As­lam moved to the UK in 1997 fear­ing his fam­ily could be tar­geted af­ter mem­bers of his com­mu­nity faced per­se­cu­tion.

Ata-ul Man­nan, spokesman for the Peter­bor­ough Ah­madiyya Mus­lim com­mu­nity, said: “We would like to con­demn what hap­pened.

“In the Ko­ran it says to take one life is to take the lives of the whole of hu­man­ity. We are a peace­ful com­mu­nity. Our motto is ‘love for all, ha­tred for none’.”

Mem­bers of the Peter­bor­ough group at­tended a me­mo­rial in London on Fri­day and a peace event in me­mory of the mosque vic­tims is be­ing planned for Peter­bor­ough in the near fu­ture.

Pic­ture: PAUL FRANKS

GRIEF: So­hail As­lam (left) whose fa­ther died in the Pak­istan mosque attacks with Peter­bor­ough Ah­madiyya Mus­lim spokesman Ata-ul Man­nan. (METP-0306-10PF001)

TRAGEDY: Ilyas Ahmed, who died in the ter­ror attacks.

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