Son’s grief after terror death
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.
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.