tHOUSANDS of Leeds residents attended the funeral of a man who was considered to be a ‘pillar of the community’.
Akhlaq Hussain Mir, chairman of the Al-Hassan Education Centre on Shepherds Lane, died aged 66 after a long battle with cancer.
His funeral took place at Masjid-e-Quba on Tuesday.
Afterwards, Coun Asghar Khan spoke very fondly of Mr Mir’s achievements and how passionate he was about serving his community. He said: “He was a great advocate and ambassdor for Muslim people in Leeds. He would always go out of his way to help other people. I remember one case where he helped a Muslim woman who had just recently converted to our religion.
“He had great links with the hospital and when she died, he told the hospital that he would take the reponsibility of providing an Islamic funeral service for her. Within a couple of hours, they managed to raise over £4,000 for her funeral.”
Mr Mir helped to build the Al-Hassan Education Centre after discovering there was a lack of Islamic services for Muslim people in Leeds.
Within the centre, he provided prayer facilities by building the Masjid-e-Quba, and created the Apna Centre, which has a gym and sauna.
However, setting up an Islamic funeral service was considered to be the highlight of his many achievements.
Coun Khan said: “We didn’t have a Muslim cemetery in Leeds. So if a person passed away, we had to go all the way to Bradford.
“We were really pushing to have that service here.”
Coun Khan said that Mr Mir dedicated his life to the centre and that the community was in shock over his death.
He said: “Mr Mir didn’t build all of this to make a profit. Everything that was made went straight back into the funding of the centre.
“His funeral was the biggestthat has taken place in Leeds so far. He was a real mentor for me and so many others.
“We’ve lost such a great member of our community and we will miss him terribly.”