08 September 2009

Devout Muslim dies after savage beating by 'race-hate' gang

Ekram Haque was beaten to death by a 'racist' gang outside a mosque
Ekram Haque was beaten to death by 
a 'racist' gang outside a mosque

By Daily Mail Reporter
at 7:40 AM on 08th September 2009

A devout Muslim pensioner attacked by a race-hate gang of schoolboys died yesterday.

Ekram Haque, 67, lost his fight for life a week after he was battered to the ground in front of his three-year-old granddaughter, Marian.

As revealed in yesterday's Daily Mail, he suffered horrific head injuries in the assault outside a mosque in Tooting, South-West London, where he had just prayed.

As he and Marian waited for a lift, the gang ran up behind him and clubbed him around the head. Two other worshippers chased the thugs away but Mr Haque - described by friends as a 'gentle giant' - had suffered horrific head injuries.

His granddaughter has been left 'very shaken and disturbed', said her father, Mr Haque's son Arfan. Graphic images of the attack were caught on CCTV.

Scotland Yard formally launched a murder inquiry after Mr Haque passed away at St George's Hospital, Tooting, where he had been on a life-support machine since the attack. Police are linking the assault on the retired care worker to a series of other attacks on elderly Asian people near the mosque.

Marian Haque
Witness to the attack: Mr Haque's three-year-old granddaughter Marian

Three of the earlier victims were also pensioners. As local community tensions grew, police stepped up patrols near the Idara E Jaaferiya mosque where Mr Haque was attacked last Monday.

Police say they are treating the attack on Mr Haque as racially motivated. Arfan, 35, a consumer law adviser, described the incident as 'mindless violence' but urged people in the Muslim community to remain calm.

He said: 'I would urge people in our community to remember that Islam is a peaceful religion and does not condone revenge attacks. If you want to do anything, just pray.

'I have been very impressed how the police have dealt with the attack, and have full confidence in what they are doing. 'Obviously I am concerned for my daughter, who has given a very vivid account of what happened.'

Ekram Haque was born in Calcutta and moved to Belfast in search of work in 1972. He met his wife there and they moved to London in the early 1980s. Mr Haque originally worked in textiles but later became a warden in a home for the disabled. He retired last year and was looking after Marian on weekdays.

At the time of the attack, he was making final preparations to take her to Pakistan and Australia on holiday. His son said: 'My father loved living in Britain. He considered himself a Londoner. He was enjoying his retirement and seeing a lot of his granddaughter.

'He was a kind, loving person, who always went out of his way to support anyone who needed support. I just want justice.'

Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, from Scotland Yard's homicide and serious crime command, said: 'We urge people who may have been attacked, or who may know who these youths are, to come forward.- http://www.dailymail.co.uk
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