Sunday, 4 September 2011

Blind imam killed after morning prayers in Finsbury Park



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Maimoun Zarzour
A blind imam who died in suspicious circumstances at a mosque in north London was killed after taking morning prayers, it has emerged.
The religious leader, understood to be Sheikh Maymoun Zarzour, was found at the Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, on Friday.
A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder. A post-mortem examination is being arranged.
The Metropolitan Police said it was not believed to be a faith hate crime.
Officers believe the suspect attended the mosque.
A statement on the Muslim Welfare House Trust's website read: "Our imam has passed away after he led prayer.

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He was exactly the kind of person Finsbury Park needs and I'm very sad he's gone”
Jeremy Corbyn MP
"The police is investigating the case but it is thought that he was killed inside his office.
"We would like to send our condolences to all the Muslims in north London and the UK."
It continued: "The sheikh was very friendly and never had an argument with anyone in the community during his career in this mosque."
The imam was blind after a childhood accident.
Local MP Jeremy Corbyn knew Sheikh Zarzour well, holding regular surgeries at the Muslim Welfare House. He had helped him to his seat at a supper just last week.
Mr Corbyn said: "He was a very good man. He was quite quiet, a good listener and good at supporting the community.
"He was exactly the kind of person Finsbury Park needs and I'm very sad he's gone.
'Random attack'
"I just hope the community can be strong, stick together and keep to the inclusive values he held."
Mr Corbyn said his understanding was that it was a "random attack" by an "extremely disturbed" man.
A Met spokeswoman said: "Police were called by London Ambulance Service to reports of a man seriously injured at Muslim Welfare House.
"A man - believed to be aged in his 30s - was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Although we await formal identification we know the victim's identity."
The iman was born in Lebanon and worked as a lecturer in Islamic history before coming to the UK.
In 2009 he successfully defeated Hillingdon Council in the High Court after it refused to provide him accommodation.
The sheikh argued he needed "special care and attention".
A memorial service will be held later on Saturday afternoon at nearby Holloway School.
-BBC News-