Thousands Attend Funeral for Beloved Manchester Imam

More than 3,000 mourners attended the funeral of Imam Habib-ur-Rahman to say farewell to one of the founding fathers of Manchester’s Muslim community.

Tributes were paid to Imam Habib-ur Rahman, who was regarded as a strong voice for interfaith dialogue, during the service at the British Muslim Heritage Centre on Friday 12th.

Maulana Habib, a retired teacher and father of eight was former Imam at Manchester Central Mosque in Rusholme and later at Medina Mosque in Levenshulme.

He taught maths at Failsworth High School in the day and also volunteered to teach Urdu to second generation immigrants from Pakistan in the evenings.

He sat on the board of three Muslim schools in Manchester and went on to become a much-loved imam who respected all religions. In 1982,Imam Habib met Pope John Paul II when he visited Heaton Park.

After Friday’s funeral service, his son Yasir said,

“I’m a little bit shocked that so many came. Perhaps I underestimated the way he touched people’s lives. It was just the way he was. He was non-judgemental. There was no sectarianism. He had friends who were Shia, Sunni and Arab.

He would always treat people with the utmost respect and make you feel like an absolute dignitary whether you were a factory worker or an eye surgeon. Everybody got the same respect. He made people feel good about themselves. He could really connect with people”.

Mr Rahman was there when the late Manchester Gorton MP Gerald Kaufman helped to lay the foundation stone for what became Manchester Central Mosque in Victoria Park.

A statement from the Manchester Council of Mosques said,

He was a religious leader who was instrumental in developing the vision and landscape of Muslims in the UK. He was a pioneer in establishing mosques and educational institutions and raised funds for the most vulnerable in our society and across the world. He promoted interfaith dialogue and encouraged citizens to work for the betterment of society.”

Source: Manchester Evening News

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