World Europe 21 Feb 2016 Leading Indian-origi ...

Leading Indian-origin Muslim cleric dies in UK

AFP
Published Feb 21, 2016, 8:22 pm IST
Updated Feb 21, 2016, 8:22 pm IST
Patel had been invited from India in the 1960s by Gujarati Indian Muslims who wanted a religious guide for the movement.
The Markazi Masjid (Central Mosque), also known as the Dewsbury Markaz or Dar ul Ulum  (Photo: Screengrab)
 The Markazi Masjid (Central Mosque), also known as the Dewsbury Markaz or Dar ul Ulum (Photo: Screengrab)

London: An Indian-origin cleric who was the leader of Tablighi Jamaat sect in Britain and Europe, and who played an important role in the creation of Markazi Mosque, the European headquarters for the movement, has died aged 92.

Thousands today turned out for the funeral of Hafiz Yusuf Patel who died in Drewsbury, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.

 

Mourners came from across the UK and flew in from European countries including France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Patel had been invited from India in the 1960s by Gujarati Indian Muslims who wanted a religious guide for the movement. "He was a pioneer, a visionary when it comes to the Islamic identity and the place of the Muslim community in Britain," Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Bradford Council for Mosques, told The Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

The cleric, who was the leader in Britain and Europe of Tablighi Jamaat sect, was instrumental in the creation of the Markazi Mosque in Dewsbury in the late 1970s. The mosque is now the European headquarters for the Tablighi movement.

 

"He established Dewsbury as a centre for European Muslims in Britain as far back as 1978. He was also a strong believer in British home-grown Islam," Ahmed said.

After an open air service, relayed on a public address system, Patel was buried in a private ceremony at Dewsbury Cemetery. Free buses ran from surrounding towns for mourners to gather in the rain to pray side by side.

Patel is said to have gone door-to-door in the early years promoting the message of Islam and encouraging people to go to mosque.

The Tablighi Jamaat organisation was founded in India in 1926 and is closely linked to the conservative Deobandi school of Sunni Islam.

 

Estimates for its global membership range from 12 million to 80 million, with European members thought to number at least 150,000.

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