Leicester house fire deaths: Father who lost his family in blaze says he does not hate their killers
DIGNIFIED: Dr Muhammad Taufiq fights back tears as he pays tribute to his wife and children, who were killed in an arson attack. He said he does not hate the seven men and one youth who have been found guilty of their deaths.
He showed them at a press conference held at the Hilton Hotel in Nottingham yesterday, shortly after the verdicts were returned.
Dr Taufiq also showed an envelope containing money raised by the family for a mosque project in Dublin which had also survived.
Talking of his family, Dr Taufiq said: “I can say they were really extra-ordinary people. They were very charitable. They had a strong concern for the welfare of others even before their own comfort.
“They had devoted their lives to a dream to give to others, the needy, the less privileged and the misguided. Four amazing human beings.”
He said his wife’s many good deeds included providing voluntary help and support to people in need.
Dr Taufiq said his daughter, Zainab, also did charitable work. He added that she was “always smiling and friendly to everyone in her school”.
Speaking of his elder son, he said: “Bilal was one of the most extraordinary, amazing and God-gifted people. At the age of 16, he was the editor of a religious magazine. He used to record his own religious songs.”
He also said Bilal had “memorised the whole of the Koran by heart”.
Of his younger son, Dr Taufiq said: “Jamal was a smiler who mixed with everyone. He made a number of friends both in his school and local community. He was nearly at the end of memorising of the whole of the Koran. He used to play football in goal and at Spinney Hill Park.”
The neurosurgeon said his wife had completed her five years of religious studies last year. Zainab was going to complete her studies this year. Bilal was in his first year of his Islamic theology course and Jamal was going to join the same course this year.
He said: “The ultimate goal of these four amazing people was to live and work together with a primary aim to serve community and humanity.”
Asked if he hated the defendants for what they did to his family, Dr Taufiq said: “I do not hate the people, but I hate the crime.”
He added: “They have not admitted what they have done. They have lied. They will have to live with that on their consciences for the rest of their lives.”
Dr Taufiq attended several days during the trial. He said it was important for him to have done so to seen the outcome.
He said: “I had to find out what happened.”
Dr Taufiq thanked many people who had helped and supported him throughout the past nine months, including Leicestershire Police, Victim Support and his colleagues in Dublin.
He added: “My thanks to all the communities in Leicester, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and so on. I have no family members in the UK, but now consider the whole of the country and people in Leicester as my family.
“Thank you to all those people all over the world who prayed for me and my family and keep us in their thoughts and prayer.
“My special thanks to all in the media who remained very much helpful and positive throughout this difficult time.”