The family of Irish based neurosurgeon Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar were laid to rest in Dublin today following an emotional ceremony attended by hundreds from the Muslim and broader community.
In his tribute, Dr Taufiq said he was now a “bird without any wings” but that he would continue with the community work he and his family had dedicated themselves to through the foundation of a mosque and community centre in west Dublin.
His wife Shehnila Taufiq (47), daughter Zainab (19) and two sons Bilal (17) and Jamil (15) were killed when their home in Leicester was engulfed in flames last month in a suspected arson attack.
Police in the UK have charged eight people in connection with the incident at the property which is thought to have been mistakenly targeted following a nearby fatal assault.
“This is a very sad occasion for me. You can say now, I am a bird without any wings. I have nobody with me now,” Dr Taufiq told mourners at his Warrenstown House centre in Blanchardstown this morning.
“You can see the beautiful land and the beautiful place being bought by my wise wife,” he said of the property, which earlier this month received planning permission for use as a mosque.
“She is listening and I know that she is in paradise and she is looking at me as well and looking at this place.
“I can say the place which we bought in the early part of this year; my wife used all our savings from our family money. We did not get any mortgage; she put in every single cent to buy this place. You can see how wise she was.”
Dr Taufiq vowed to continue his work as a neurosurgeon and “at the same time I am going to dedicate my life day and night and the weekends for the community and society in this land.”
He thanked both the UK and Irish communities and staff from all of the Dublin hospitals, many of whom were in attendance, for their support.
The Sattar family is highly respected within the Muslim community in Ireland. Mrs Sattar had brought their children to England to enable them to pursue Islamic studies.
Dr Sattar has credited his wife’s vision for encouraging him to help set up Islamic community projects in Dublin.
The surgeon said he had been heartened by all the support he had received from across Ireland since the fire tragedy.
He thanked both medical colleagues and patients who had passed on their condolences.
“Thank you very much for all of you coming here this morning,” he told mourners. “It’s cold, and I appreciate it. I can see many of our Irish friends are here as well.”
The doctor has revealed that it was the family’s wish to return to Ireland once their children had completed their education in Britain.
The bodies had been brought into Dublin on an overnight ferry after about 7,000 people gathered in Leicester’s Spinney Hill Park to pay their respects on Thursday.
The surgeon has vowed to continue on his work for the Muslim community and help to cement links between people of Islamic faith in Ireland and others.
His daughter Zainab had planned to train to become a primary school teacher and Islamic religious teacher and to live and work in Ireland.
The remains of his family, whose coffins were laid out in front of hundreds of mourners in a specially raised marquee, were later brought to Newcastle cemetery for burial.
The service was also attended by Mayor of Fingal Kieran Dennison.