Muhammed Saleem Chaudhry pictured here with his wife of 50 years Said Begum was stabbed three times in the back late on Monday April 29.
By Ahmed J Versi and Elham Asaad Buaras
The daughter of an elderly Birmingham man who was repeatedly and brutally stabbed as he walked home from his local mosque has told The Muslim News she believes the attack on her father was not only premeditated but is racially and Islamophobically motivated.
75-year-old father of seven Muhammed Saleem Chaudhry from Small Heath, was discovered in a pool of blood just yards from his front door by neighbours who were alerted to his screams.
The retired baker was returning to his wife Said Begum, who was in bed at the time of the incident.
Chaudhry had been stabbed three times in the back and his head had been stamped on during the attack on the night of Monday April 29. He was attacked at 10.30pm, after leaving evening prayers at Green Lane mosque where he regularly prayed.
His nephew Javid Iqbar, 53, found the body after his distraught aunt called him, shouting down the line that his uncle had been hurt.
He said: “I raced round to their house and I saw a figure lying in the street, with the neighbours standing over him.
“I dashed over and he was lying there motionless, in a pool of blood – he had obviously been very seriously attacked.”
Chaudhry was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead just after 11pm.
The attack on the frail pensioner, who suffered from arthritis and walked with the aid of a stick, was so vicious that surgeons told the family they had never seen stab wounds so brutal before.
Chaudhry who’s described as “enemy-less” by friends and family is not believed to have been targeted in a mugging gone wrong because his wallet was found in his possession.
Officers leading the investigation into the death admitted racism was a “significant line of inquiry.”
Police have released CCTV footage of a white man seen running away from the scene of the attack, as well as footage of a white people carrier which was seen driving along the route between the murder scene and the mosque around the time of the attack.
They have appealed for anybody with information about either the man or the vehicle, which appeared to have two men inside, to come forward.
Police said they believe Chaudhry was subjected to a swift attack and one that left him no time to try and defend himself.
Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, who is leading the inquiry, said Chaudhry “was a defenceless pensioner returning home from evening prayers.
“It was a despicable, brutal attack. I’m confident someone, or perhaps several people, in the local community know who has done this.
“Whoever is capable of doing this needs putting in jail and that’s where we’re going to put them.”
One of his five devastated daughters, Shazia Khan, 45, said the attack on her father was not only premeditated but was “racially motivated to an extent but the faith is the important factor in this. My father was a well respected member of the community and well liked at the mosque, there can be no other motive.”
Shazia said her mum is “shell-shocked” by the horrific way she lost her husband of over 50 years. “We are unable to grieve our loss due to the intensity of the murder investigation and the media interest. We have little time to reflect. Until we receive some clarity of what happened that night we will get no peace,” she added.
She also said West Midlands police were “clueless” in solving a spate of attacks on Asians in the area.
“There have been a spate of attacks on Muslims in the recent months leading up to our father’s murder; there have been many attacks on Asians in general. Only two days after my father’s death a Sikh man was stabbed to death. He also was a respected member of the community.”
Shazia lashed out at the police saying, “There seems to be too many stabbings on Asians and the police do not tend to solve the crime instantly. These people are then still loose in the community continuing to kill whilst the police remain clueless.”
Shazia described the police’s initial investigation as “evasive” and said the family were forced to “put a lot of pressure to piece together the witness statements and CCTV footage to find a link.”
But she also praised their hard work which includes putting up a £10,000 reward through crimestoppers including speaking with congregation of the mosque.
Family and friends paid tribute to Chaudhry who Shazia says was a “well liked generous family man with a great sense of humour.” The neighbours and the community “have been brilliant, showing emotional support and warmth to our mother in particular,” she said. Shazia added that “daily drops of shopping and meals have been sent by kind relatives.”
They have received flowers, tributes, cards and condolences from all races and religions. “His death has touched everyone because he was everyone’s grand dad.”
Sunny Araf, a former policeman, described Chaudhry, who leaves behind 22 grandchildren and seven children, as “a genuine man. When I found out it was him I couldn’t believe it. He was so passionate about his community and the mosque and cared so much about the kids in the community. He had a great relationship with everyone.”
A spokesman for Green Lane Mosque told The Muslim News said Chaudhry was a pious, humble, caring and honest man, who had a bubbly charismatic character. He has been praying at GLMCC for many years and spent a lot of time at the Mosque. He would often be the first to arrive to offer voluntary prayers and also be in the first row for the five daily prayers. Mr Chaudhry had a close connection with the Holy Qur’an and he would often be seen reading the Qur’an during the day. ”
The family’s anguish is compounded by their inability to swiftly bury Chaudhry, a custom demanded by Islamic law which calls for the quick burial of the deceased. The family are forced to wait for a second post mortem which can only be carried out once suspect is found.
Anyone who was in the area on the night of the incident and saw anything suspicious is asked to call the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you or anyone you know have been subject to an Islamophobic attack or discrimination of any kind please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or t-020 8863 8586 or m- 07768 241325 (out of office hours) all submissions will be dealt with the utmost of confidence. Thank you