Leicester fire deaths: Father tells funeral service he is a 'bird without wings'

Grieving neurosurgeon led prayers for the 1,000 people who attended the janaza ceremony in memory of his wife Shehnila Taufiq and their three teenage children

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The Independent Online

A grieving neurosurgeon whose family died in a suspected arson attack has told mourners at a funeral service that he is a bird without wings.

Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar led prayers for the 1,000 people who attended the janaza ceremony in Dublin in memory of his wife Shehnila Taufiq, 47, and their three teenage children, Zainab, Bilal and Jamil

Eight people have been charged in connection with a feared revenge attack at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, on 13 September, following a fatal assault in nearby Kent Street.

“This is a very sad occasion for me. You can say now I am bird without any wings. I have nobody with me now.” said Dr Sattar, who works in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.

The Sattar family is highly respected within the Muslim community in Ireland, and Dr Sattar is well regarded as a neurosurgeon. The Dr credited his wife with encouraging him to help set up community projects in Dublin.

Mrs Sattar was with the couple’s children in England while the teenagers pursued Islamic studies. The doctor has revealed that it was the family's wish to return to Ireland once their children had completed their education in Britain.

The surgeon said he had been heartened by the support he had received from across Ireland since the tragedy, and thanked medical colleagues and patients who had passed on their condolences.

“Thank you very much for all of you coming here this morning,” he told mourners. “It's cold and I appreciate it. I can see many of our Irish friends are here as well.”

After prayers at Warrenstown House in the Blanchardstown area of Dublin, the family members were buried in Newcastle cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

The bodies of his wife and children were brought into Dublin on an overnight ferry after around 7,000 people gathered in Leicester's Spinney Hill Park to pay their respects a few days before the Dublin service.

Dr Sattar has vowed to continue his community work to cement links between Muslims in Ireland and others.