20,000 people expected at Dewsbury man's funeral

Up to 20,000 mourners gathered for the funeral of one of the most influential Muslim leaders in Britain.

Friday, 19th February 2016, 5:29 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2016, 5:35 pm
Picture shows the minaret of the Markazi Masjid sticking out of the Dewsbury skyline.

Hafiz Patel was a prominent figure at the Markazi mosque in Dewsbury.

He was also the leader in Britain and Europe of Tablighi Jamaat, a global Islamic missionary movement that encourages Muslims to be more religiously observant.

Mr Patel died on Thursday aged 92. His funeral is taking place at Savile Town playing fields today.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

People have travelled from across Britain and Europe to pay their respects.

The burial service will follow at Dewsbury Cemetery.

Dewsbury South councillor Masood Ahmed said between 15,000 and 20,000 people have travelled to the town to pay their respects.

He said: “Hafiz was an instrumental figure in building the mosque to make sure there was something for the community.

“People have flown in from around the world. That is how much he meant to people.”

Mr Patel was a renowned cleric who came to Dewsbury in the 1960s.

He played a pivotal role in the creation of the Markazi mosque in Savile Town.

Mr Patel also set up a seminary for imams and Islamic scholars in Dewsbury in 1978.

Coun Ahmed has been liaising with West Yorkshire Police and Kirklees Council about potential congestion in the town due to the number of people attending the funeral.

He said: “We want people to be aware that there may be some congestion while the service takes place.”

Arriva Yorkshire tweeted: “Allow extra journey time when travelling in the Dewsbury area.

“We are expecting increased congestion around Savile Town until early evening.”