English riot victims 'died for the community': father
Three men who were killed as they defended their shop against looters in the English city of Birmingham last week "died for the community", the father of one of the victims told a peace rally on Sunday.
Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, suffered fatal injuries after being hit by a car in the early hours of Wednesday in the Winson Green area of the central England city.
Addressing the rally for the victims, Tariq Jahan, father of Haroon, told the crowd that the display of unity gave him "strength in my heart".
Jahan, 46, emerged as a hero of the worst English riots in decades after calling for calm in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, preventing revenge attacks.
"To me it's the month of Ramadan, as a Muslim I believe that this is a very special month," he said.
"For us Muslims we believe the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are shut this month, so that gives me the strength to believe that the three boys did not die in vain, they died for this community and I hope that this community will remember them," added the bereaved father.
Chief Constable Chris Sims of West Midlands Police told the crowds that his force had handled the riots appropriately.
"I'm absolutely confident that my officers have shown great bravery," he said. "We will bring to justice people that have broken the law and we will use some compassion for those that deserve compassion as well."
On Sunday, Joshua Donald, 26, and a 17-year-old male who cannot be named appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court charged with the murder of the three men.
© 2011 AFP