Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar outside his local mosque in Leicester, speaking about the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester. Matthew Cooper/PA Wire/Press Association Images
leicester fire

Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar: 'The words of the Quran have given me strength'

The neurosurgeon spoke about how his faith has given him peace, while a man has appeared in court today over the deaths of his wife and children.

Updated 14.05pm

DUBLIN BASED NEUROSURGEON, Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar said that his religion has given him the strength to deal with the tragedy of losing his wife and three children in house fire in Leicester.

His wife, Shehnila Taufiq died along with their 19-year-old daughter and sons, aged 17 and 15, named Zainab, Jamal and Bilal.

The family were inside their terraced home in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester when the blaze broke out in the early hours of the morning.

Last call

Speaking with Sean O’Rourke on RTE radio this morning, he said he last spoke to his family at 11.10pm on the night the fire took place.

“I talked to all three of my children that night so I was very fortunate. Jamal was in bed at the time when I called but he got up to speak to me,” said.

He said he would visit his family, who lived in Leicester, at least three weekends out of every month. He said he was thinking about going out to Leicester on the Friday evening, but due to work commitments he could not.

He said he felt it was god’s plan that he was not in the house that night, or else he could have also lost his life in the blaze.

Shocking news

“I got a call 3.10am from my friend to say my house was on fire. It was shocking,” he said.

Speaking about his wife he said:

She was an excellent person, an extraordinary person… she was a caring mother who looked after the three children and brought them up in my absence, while I was working over here.

He said that she was even more spiritual than him and was always encouraging him to do more in the wider community. He said he and his family were involved in the Dawah Community Centre in Castleknock.

Speaking about his children, he said his daughter had recently done well in her exams and was looking to a career in teaching. She and her mother planned to move to Ireland next year to do more community work within the Dawah Community Centre.


He said his sons had planned to stay on in Leicester. Speaking about his son Jamal, he said:

My son Jamal is the exact opposite of me – he did not like biology at all. He is excellent in other work, in computers. He was so creative, he was not going to be a brains surgeon or doctor.

When asked how he could be so composed when he had gone through such a tragedy he said:

I read the words of the Quran and they give me the strength. The meaning of these words when any calamity touches you, you just say you belong to Allah.

When we face difficulties, we read the words of the Quran and they give you so much satisfaction, peace and tranquility in your hearts. There are other names for him, like god or Jesus, but there is only one man…

When he [Allah] said your time is come, he said ‘I have given you these lovely children and now I am going to take your family away from you with no warning, but that is the faith, we are not going to be here forever. We are not going to sit in a corner and cry and cry…

He also said his faith would not allow him to be angry with god. He said he is not on his own adding:

I won’t say I am on my own. I have all the people here in Dublin with me and in Leicester. Allah is with me and god is with me. I will continue my work as a neurosurgeon. I will focus more here to help people in Dublin in our centre, and I am going to work hard to do community work and be part of the Irish society and to bring people together through integration to show just what the religion of Islam is about.

Four counts of murder

Muhammad Taufiq interview coincides with Kemo Anthony Porter’s court appearance today.

The 18-year-old from Leicester has been charged with four counts of murder over the deaths.

He was not required to enter a plea at the hearing and will appear before Leicester Crown Court on Monday via videolink and then again on October 4, reports Sky News.

He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth at the two-minute hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court today.

His court appearance came as an inquest into the deaths was opened and adjourned, with the cause of death given as smoke inhalation.

Read: Three arrested in connection with Leicester house fire>,

Read: Wife and children of Dublin-based doctor killed in Leicester house fire>

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