Riot victims: 'Their mother is broken. She was robbed of two sons in a single night'


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The Independent Online

At a mosque where the traumatised family of Abdul Mussavir and Shahzad Ali had gathered, people queued throughout the day to pay their respects to a household deprived of two sons. On the road in front of the red-brick building, Abdul Qadooth, the oldest brother, sobbed as friends embraced him.

A cousin said the family had not begun to come to terms with what had happened. "They are just in bits," he said. "They are broken. They cannot believe this could happen. A mother robbed of her two sons in one night."

Neighbours in the close-knit western suburb of Winson Green described the brothers as friendly, devout men always willing to help others. Shahzad had recently married and his widow, Khansa, is four months' pregnant.

People referred to him with respect as a hafiz – the term Muslims use for someone who has memorised the entire Koran. He also had a degree in business management from the University of Central England. Maz Mohammed, 40, described how the pair had gone out to protect the area from rioters. He said Mussavir – known locally as "Musi" – had many friends. "Every time you spoke to him his left hand would be going up and down, waving at all the people he knew," he said.

Haroon Jahan, the youngest of the three victims, was a promising amateur boxer who worked as a mechanic at a garage owned by Shahzad. Mussavir also worked part-time at the garage as well as driving a delivery van.

Haroon's father, Tariq, spoke to reporters on the steps of the family home which lies less than 40 yards from where he was knocked down. "Why, why?" he said. "I don't understand. We are here defending the community of all the problems that are going on in the country. He was trying to help his community. I can't describe to anyone what it feels like to lose your son."