Platell’s People: The Muslim father who restores our faith in humanity

October 2, 2013 3:24 pm Comments Off on Platell’s People: The Muslim father who restores our faith in humanity Views: 1142

More than a quarter of young British adults mistrust Muslims according to a survey, and nearly three-quarters think they are not doing enough to tackle extremism in their communities.

The poll was taken before the horrific slaughter of 67 innocent men, women and children in a Nairobi shopping mall by Somali militant Islamist group Al Shabaab. More than 60 people are still unaccounted for.


Quiet dignity: Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar, who lost four members of his family after their home was set alight, speaking to the media

Not only did the terrorists massacre shoppers fleeing for their lives, but  soldiers sifting through the wreckage claim the terrorists tortured their hostages, hanging them from hooks in the ceiling as they mutilated and dismembered them.

The soldiers even found dead children in fridges with the knives that killed them still in their small bodies.

There are believed to be at least five Britons among the dead – a figure that could well increase the already alarming level of mistrust of Muslims in this country.

But I believe we should no more blame our Muslim brothers and sisters than we should hold all doctors responsible for Dr Harold Shipman’s murder of 250 patients.

Appalling: Dr Taufiq Al Sattar's burnt-out homeAppalling: Dr Taufiq Al Sattar’s burnt-out home

Evil exists in all faiths. And we all know that the vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving, kind, hard-working people whose family values and work ethic shame many Britons.

This was no more evident than yesterday, when Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar gave a heart-rending interview to the BBC over the suspected murder of his entire family.

His wife Shehnila, 47, daughter Zainab, 19, and two sons, Bilal, 17, and 15-year-old Jamal, died after the family home in Leicester was set alight on September 13. Dr Taufi, a neurosurgeon, was in Dublin at the time of the blaze. Police have charged an 18-year-old man with murder over the fire.

But from Dr Taufiq Al Sattar there was no call for vengeance, although he admitted with agonising understatement that the last fortnight had been ‘very difficult’. 

When he described with quiet dignity his terrible ordeal and his last conversation with his wife and children just hours before they died, I was struck by his abiding faith – which he says gave him strength – and his belief that his family is now in paradise.

This reminded me of all the kind, gentle Muslims I know. The friends who, when I was ill recently and housebound, brought me plates of home-cooked food and offered daily to shop for me and carry out chores.

One particular gentleman, with a long beard and always in traditional Muslim robes, would put his hand on my head and bless me. I found it particularly comforting that his prayers were with me.

Let’s not forget that the heroes of the Kenyan massacre were of all creeds and colours. I know my Muslim friends are as appalled and distressed by the slaughter in Nairobi as me, a practising Christian.

Its horror does not divide us. It unites us.

A ‘freedom’ that has to be lifted

The British wife of a 7/7 bomber, ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite is being hunted by Interpol. She has been a wanted terrorist for years and is a prime suspect in the Nairobi massacre.

How could she have escaped detection, and travelled freely through Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania?

We all know the answer.  Muslim women must be treated like the rest of us. At airports, ports, buses and railway stations, it is not unreasonable to ask them to remove their niqabs and burqas.

Not Strictly fair play, Susanna!

Strictly Come Dancing is ritually plagued by accusations of contestants enjoying an unfair advantage because they already have dancing experience.

But what about this year’s BBC wannabe, Susanna Reid (left)? She ruthlessly sucked up to Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood by interviewing him on her Breakfast show, and promoting his new book. Now that really is trying to get an unfair advantage.


Prince Charles says he’s proud of the fact that his sons have inherited his ‘sad dad’ dancing skills, claiming ‘the Princes get their best moves from me’. He seems to have conveniently forgotten that Diana was the dancer in the family, and her childhood ambition was to be a ballerina.

She waltzed like a fairytale princess with John Travolta at the White House, while Charles demonstrated all the grace of John Sergeant in Strictly.


Fresh from his Olympic success, British sailing superstar Sir Ben Ainslie leads the Yanks to victory in the America’s Cup. He wants to launch a British bid soon.

There’s just one problem. The Americans spent £120 million on their super-yacht, which came straight from the pages of science fiction. We’d be lucky to afford a rowing boat.

With her warmth and humour, Dawn French (left) is a big hit Down Under on Australia’s Got Talent. No wonder. She’s piled on so much weight they’ve mistaken her for Ayers Rock.


‘Poor drug mules’ smuggled death

No one was taken in by their fantastical stories of kidnap and death threats, so it’s no surprise that drug mules Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa  Reid have finally admitted they did try to smuggle  £1.5 million of cocaine. 

They hope not only that it will give them a shorter sentence but that they will also be able to serve part of it in Britain.

It’s all too easy to be sympathetic to a couple of silly young women, but the sad truth is that cocaine kills – and if their misery in the Peruvian cells deters others from joining the drugs trade, it will be justice.


Love or lust? Amanda HoldenLove or lust? Amanda Holden

A very curious affair

Promoting her autobiography, Amanda Holden insists it was ‘love and affirmation’ she sought from her affair with Neil Morrissey, not sex. How curious. Every married woman I’ve ever known who had an affair lost weight, joined the gym – and then headed straight for Ann Summers.


Refusing to return to Italy for the retrial of the murder of Meredith Kercher, her suspected killer Amanda Knox appears on UK TV saying she wants to visit her friend’s grave to achieve closure. There will be no such prospect for Meredith’s family.


The greatest tragedy for any parent is to outlive their own child. I know this because I saw what it did to my parents when my brother Michael died. But how much worse it must have been for the mother and father of five-year-old April Jones, who was laid to rest on Thursday.

They didn’t even have a body to bury, just 17 tiny fragments of April’s skull, found in the fireplace of her abductor’s home.


Blood on his hands

Asda quickly responded to the social-media driven outrage caused by their selling a £20, blood-spattered, axe-wielding Halloween costume called a ‘mental patient’ outfit.

What a pity the man heading the revolt was Alastair Campbell, who was behind the dodgy dossier that sent 179 of our troops to their deaths in Iraq. If anyone has blood on his hands, it’s him.


The on-off engagement between Liz Hurley and Shane Warne was re-ignited when they met in London for lunch. The woman famous for her provocative hardly-there frocks was wearing black trousers and a purple jumper – the clearest sign yet that it’s all over for Warney.

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