Tributes have been paid following the death of Abdul Aziz Chishti, a grandfather and religious teacher who lost eight members of his family in a house fire 15 years ago.
Mr Chishti, 74, who died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Thursday morning after suffering from kidney and heart problems, survived a firebomb attack on Osborn Road in Birkby, which took the lives of his wife, son, daughter and five grand-daughters in May 2002.
The arson attack was Huddersfield’s worst mass murder case.
A prayer service was held yesterday (Thurs) evening at the mosque on Clara Street, Fartown, which was attended by hundreds of family members and friends from across the country, including people from Manchester, Luton, Milton Keynes, Bradford and London.
His eldest son, Abdul Hameed, 48, said his father had been a founder member of the Clara Street mosque and had gone on to work as an imam.
He had also been an imam at a mosque on Halifax Old Road, Birkby, in the 1980s.
Mr Hameed paid tribute to the courage and dignity his father had shown following the devastating arson attack.
He said: “After the fire he showed a dignified face and told us to be calm. He was dignified during that time and he gave us courage to his close family to live after the incident.”
Among the mourners were his other sons, Abdul Majeed, 38, and Muhammed Shafique, and daughter Saddiqah, 44.
Mr Hameed said his father’s body would be buried in Pakistan alongside family members who had died in the fire.
“His last wish was to be buried alongside those who died,” he said. “His body will be taken for burial in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.”
Mr Hameed said his father had been born in Pakistan and had come to Britain in 1985.
He had been a teacher in Pakistan for a number of years and had become a religious teacher during his time in Huddersfield. He had taught at colleges in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Bradford and was a Huddersfield University graduate.
The victims of the house fire were six-month-old Najeebah Nawaz, Aneesa Nawaz, two, Tayyaba Bootall, three, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Rabiah Bootall, 10, Muhammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, 18, Nafeesa Aziz aged 35 who were all killed on the night, and Zaib-U-Nisa, 54, who died in hospital a week later.
Three of the killers were convicted for their part in the petrol bomb attack on the house in the early hours of the morning.
A fourth suspect, Shahid Mohammed, disappeared while on bail. He was detained in Pakistan in 2015.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and various authorities in the UK has been working to have him brought back to face justice.