Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of the UK’s most influential Muslim leader.

Up to 10,000 people converged on Savile Town in Dewsbury to pay their respects to Hafiz Mohammed Patel who died aged 92.

Mr Patel came to Dewsbury from India in 1960 and helped set up a base for the Tablighi Jamaat missionary movement.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Markazi Mosque in South Street, Savile Town, in the late 1970s.

Video thumbnail, Thousands expected at Dewsbury funeral
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The mosque is now the European headquarters for the movement, with Mr Patel at its head.

Mr Patel died on Thursday and his funeral was held at the Savile Town playing fields – the only venue large enough – on Friday.

Mourners came from across the UK and flew in from European countries including France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

After the open air service, relayed on a public address system, Mr Patel was buried in a private ceremony at Dewsbury Cemetery.

It is understood religious study for youngsters at local mosques were cancelled for the day as a mark of respect and local schools were opened in half-term to allow mourners to park.

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Free buses ran from surrounding towns and mourners from near and far gathered in the rain to pray side by side.

Mr Patel is said to have gone door-to-door in the early years promoting the message of Islam and encouraging people to go to mosque.

Funeral of Muslim religious leader Hafez Mohammed Patel, Savile Road Playing Fields, Dewsbury.

He was said to have helped people from all walks of life.

Businessman and respected community figure Solly Adam, who shared a love of cricket with Mr Patel, led the tributes describing the funeral as “unique.”

He described Mr Patel as the “ameer of Europe”, head of the religion, the highest ranking, and added: “You will never see a funeral like this in the whole of your life.”

Funeral of Muslim religious leader Hafez Mohammed Patel, Savile Road Playing Fields, Dewsbury.

Mr Adam said Mr Patel “sacrificed his whole life for Muslims” and Dewsbury South Labour councillor Masood Ahmed added: “He was always respectful, humble and approachable. He will be a big loss to the Muslim community as a whole as a spiritual leader.”

Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Bradford Council for Mosques, also joined the tributes and said: “He was a pioneer, a visionary when it comes to the Islamic identity and the place of the Muslim community in Britain.

“He established Dewsbury as a centre for European Muslims in Britain as far back as 1978. He was also a strong believer in British home-grown Islam.”