Thursday 22 March 2018

Grieving doctor says he'll meet family on 'other side'

Dr Muhammad Taufiq Sattar is consoled by a friend at the Islamic Dawah Community Centre, Castleknock, Dublin
Dr Muhammad Taufiq Sattar is consoled by a friend at the Islamic Dawah Community Centre, Castleknock, Dublin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE Dublin-based surgeon who lost his family in a horrific fire said he will meet them again "on the other side".

Dr Muhammad Taufiq Sattar said his wife and three children would have been prepared for death and were now "in paradise".

The devout Muslim, who is funding a new Islamic community centre in west Dublin, said it was "God's will that they had died" and that he had to accept it.

"Insha'Allah (God willing), when I die I will meet them again.

"My faith is strong and I believe they have gone to paradise and they are waiting for me," he told the Irish Independent.

He made the comments as Kemo Anthony Porter (18) appeared in court in England yesterday charged with murdering Dr Sattar's wife, Shehnila Taufiq (47), daughter Zainab (19), and sons Bilal (17) and Jamil (15).

They perished in a fire in Leicester last Friday.

The children had moved to the UK with their mother so they could receive religious tuition at secondary school.

Dr Sattar had remained in Dublin, working as a neurosurgeon at Beaumont Hospital, but visited them most weekends.

He had planned to be with his family on the night of the blaze so that he could spend an extra day with Jamil, but in the end it "was not possible".

"God did not want that I should be in the house at that time on that Friday night . . . otherwise I could be burned as well. God did not plan it like that."

Yesterday, at Friday prayers in Castleknock, he delivered a sermon written by his eldest son, Bilal, the day before his death. Poignantly, it dealt with the topics of living a good life and being prepared for death.

The Pakistani-born doctor, who has been practising in Ireland since 2003, said he was "managing alright".

"We have to be strong," he said. "I accept it, what God has planned."

Dr Sattar (52) said he may be able to forgive whoever was responsible for wiping out his family "in time", but it was not something he wanted to think about right now.

He also paid tribute to his wife of 20 years.


"She was an excellent person and a caring mother," he said.

"My wife was very wise. I used to ring her several times a day about anything."

Educated in Pakistan, Dr Sattar trained in Ireland and the UK. All of the children were born in Manchester.

The surgeon worked in Saudi Arabia for five years before moving his family to Ireland in 2003.

The children attended a Muslim primary school in Clonskeagh, but their parents decided to move them to England in 2005 so they could attend a Muslim secondary school, as there was none in Ireland.

"She looked after the children and brought them up in my absence while I worked here," the surgeon said.

Dr Sattar helped set up an Islamic community centre in Castleknock, which he currently lives above.

He and his wife also recently purchased a large property in Blanchardstown which will be used as a place of prayer and community centre.

"My younger son said: 'Papa, we want to go and buy a big house.' But I said: 'No. We will get that house in paradise, not in this world.'"

He added: "This is what the mother used to say to the children as well, that this is just a temporary life. We can leave at any time. So they were all ready."

The grieving father recalled how he was told the tragic news in a 3am phone call.

"I was quite upset. But I prayed. This is the teaching of our prophet, that whenever any difficulty comes the first thing you do is pray – seeking help from God," he said.

Irish Independent

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