Monday, July 07, 2008

7/7 bomber relatives hold party at his grave to celebrate his life

They put on a "banquet fit for a martyr" for this murderer.

I kid you not.

A banquet fit for a 'martyr', this is how one of the July 7 suicide bombers was remembered today.

On the third anniversary of the terror attacks which killed 52 people and injured many more, the family of Shehzad Tanweer held a party to ‘celebrate his life’ and ‘remember him as a martyr’.

Today the families of those murdered in the attacks reacted with outrage to the secret ceremony held at a village in Pakistan where 70 guests gathered to offer prayers and blessings for the suicide bomber whose grave is considered to be a ‘shrine of a big saint'.

When Tanweer detonated his bomb at Aldgate station on July 7, 2005 he killed seven innocent people as well as himself.

Together with Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain,18, and 19-year-old Jermaine Lindsay, the four bombers blew up three Underground trains and a bus killing 52 people.

As thousands mourned in Britain, in Pakistan there were prayers uttered for his soul and verses of the Koran were read out. At the commemorative dinner held by Tanweer’s uncle, 42-year-old property developer Tahir Pervez at his home in Samundari, guests were treated to two courses of sweet rice and salted rice with curry and beef prepared by a renowned local chef.
And to mark the occasion, rice was distributed amongst villagers.

For the last two years, the family gathering has been held in secret at his grave, but this year police urged the family not to hold a memorial at the site.

His headstone- the largest in the cemetery of the village- bears the phrase ‘La ilaha il Mohammed dur rasool Allah’ which means ‘There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.’

Local police officer, Zafar Iqbal said: ‘At least 60 to 70 guests, who included villagers and close relatives were invited. ‘They recited the holy Koran inside Tahir’s home and prayed for his soul. We told them not to celebrate the anniversary of his death publicly and call many guests. We also told them to avoid going to the graveyard. During the last two years there was a big celebration and people in the area have accepted his grave as a shrine of a big saint. That is why this time we told his uncle to avoid a big celebration.’

But despite police requests, some villagers insisted on laying flowers at Tanweer’s grave today.

The celebration happened on the same day that hundreds of mourners gathered at the four sites, Russell Square, Aldgate and Edgware Road Tube stations, and Tavistock Square where bombs ripped through London’s public transport network.

Relatives of the victims condemned the celebration...
...Pamela Bond, whose son Jamie Gordon, 30, died in the Tavistock Square blast said: ‘It’s so bad I can’t take it in.
‘To celebrate a "martyr"? It’s just too horrible. But we can’t do anything about it. If his family lived in England they would see the hurt it does to celebrate something like this, but in Pakistan they obviously have a different view of things.’

Sean Cassidy, whose 22-year-old son Ciaran died in the King’s Cross bombing, said: ‘This is glorifying terrorism no matter how you look at it. It is encouraging other people to carry out attacks and it’s not right, especially on a day like today. It is insensitive and inappropriate to hold this on the third anniversary. The government should not even have done him the courtesy of returning remains to Pakistan.’

His daughter Lisa added: ‘It’s really upsetting. At a time when Muslim people are trying to gain people’s respect and put an end to prejudice, it doesn’t paint them in a positive light. I feel it is extremely insensitive what’s going on in Pakistan. They are obviously not thinking about those 52 who were murdered or what this man actually did.’

Stacey Beer, who lost her brother Phil, 22, in the King’s Cross explosion said: ‘It’s disgusting.
‘I really can’t believe it, although nothing surprises me anymore about these people. It hurts even more today. I can’t really take it in, I’m so disgusted that they could do this.’

Today a low-key ceremony was held at the railway station where the four suicide bombers set out on their mission of terror. London Mayor Boris Johnson joined Tessa Jowell and transport chiefs to lay flowers outside King’s Cross station at 8.50am, the time when the first three bombs went off.

There was also a number of private meetings for survivors and victims’ families.
Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon said: ‘It is absolutely appalling that his family are choosing to mark the date in this way. What are the Pakistan government doing about this?
‘Five people from five different ethnic and religious groups died from my constituency on 7 July7 2005 and this is a damning insult to their memory and their family members.

‘Most Muslims would be absolutely horrified, as I am, that Shehzad Tanweer is being remembered by some people as a martyr.’

Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon, added: ‘I think it’s one of the most appalling things I have ever heard of. It’s absolutely sick. What does that say to the relatives of the victims who are still suffering? And what about those who are injured too? To hold a celebratory party. That’s just appalling.'