Toyosi's family and friends at odds over rally for slain teen
Published 10/04/2010 | 05:00
DIVISIONS have emerged within the family, friends and supporters of Toyosi 'Toy' Shittabey over a rally in his memory planned for today.
Religious leaders from the Muslim community have warned that the gathering planned for Dublin is unnecessary and is being hijacked for political reasons.
However, the organisers of the meeting say it will be a peaceful rally and rejected the notion there was a political element to it.
Some 1,000 people are expected to meet at the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm today for the commemoration to the teenager, who was buried in a ceremony on Thursday.
Toy died of stab wounds just a few hundred yards from his home in Tyrrelstown, west Dublin, on Friday of last week after he was involved in an altercation.
Today's rally will be addressed by Jack O'Connor, the president of SIPTU, while Socialist MEP Joe Higgins has been drumming up support for people to attend. But yesterday a senior Muslim figure said there was "no need" for the gathering.
Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri said there was a feeling that the march would be hijacked by political groups and said the judicial process should be allowed to proceed. Two men have been charged in connection with the death.
At Toy's funeral on Thursday, Imam Shehu Adetola Adeniji, from the Nigerian Mosque on Sheriff Street, said "no amount" of protest would bring back the soccer enthusiast. However, one of the organisers of the event said it was not only about the death of Toyosi.
"It is about Ireland as one community and everyone trying to see Ireland as one community, everybody's neighbours as one," Ignatius Okafor said.
He said Abi Shittabey, a member of the wider family, would also be speaking. "It is not about politics, nobody is bringing politics into this," he added.
There were emotional scenes at the funeral of the teenager when he was buried in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Newcastle cemetery surrounded by some 500 mourners.
After the event, Toy's father Segun Shittabey thanked the wider community. "I am using this medium to appeal to everybody that we should remain calm while hoping that justice shall prevail," he said.
Following the death, there were angry scenes at a remembrance ceremony for Toy when a number of his friends had to be restrained from attacking properties in the Tyrrelstown area where he died.