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Saturday 17 August 2019

Teenager helping gardai after fatal stabbing in city park

Tragic: Azzam Raguragui
Tragic: Azzam Raguragui

Alan O'Keeffe and Alan Sherry

A male teenager presented himself to gardai investigating the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old youth in a south Dublin park.

The teenager turned up at a Dublin garda station yesterday afternoon and gardai said later they were following "a definite line of inquiry".

Azzam Raguragui (18) was stabbed at Finsbury Park in Churchtown at 8.10pm last Friday.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being rushed to St James's Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Gardai said they were not considering any racial motive in the attack. They are continuing to seek witnesses.

The teenager, who lived at Hillview Grove, Dundrum, was described as "kind, courteous and respectful", and a big GAA fan.

Residents of the Finsbury Park area said they had made a number of complaints about anti-social behaviour to gardai in recent weeks concerning groups of rowdy teenage boys at night at a green space that is not overlooked by homes.

Gardai have spoken to a number of young people who were present in the area when the incident happened. The victim, known as 'Azzy' to his friends, was previously a student at De La Salle College in Churchtown and wanted to become an entrepreneur.

Azzam and his family were members of the local Muslim community. His father Abderrahmane, who is originally from Morocco, moved to Ireland in 2001.

Mr Raguragui, his wife, and their two remaining children were being comforted at their home in Dundrum last night. Mr Raguragui is a nursing home care worker who in a media interview a few years ago described Ireland as a friendly and warm place with greater tolerance than other countries.

Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland knew Azzam personally and described him as very promising young man who was always decent and polite.

“What happened [on Friday] shocked all the community here. That guy killed him on a Friday, which is a very special day for Muslims. He also killed him in the month of Ramadan, where Muslims observe fasting, so he killed him while fasting.

“It is terrible. All the community stayed up last night. Most of us could not sleep because it was such a shocking incident. To see a very nice guy of this age stabbed to death in Dundrum, I can’t believe it. If this is happening in Dundrum where is safe?”

Azzam’s family visited Clonskeagh Mosque last night, where members of the Muslim community offered condolences.

Dr Selim said Azzam was studying for his Leaving Cert and had previously spoken about becoming a doctor. He was a student at De La Salle School in Churchtown and was a keen GAA and football fan.

“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his parents. We all share the shock and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” he said.

“It’s a terrible that incident that is happening at what should be the best time of year for us. In two weeks we would be celebrating.”

The Irish Sufi Foundation stated: "Azzam was a kind, courteous, respectful and cheerful young man who always had a smile on his face. He was bright, talented and ambitious with aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur. Such a tragic loss. A wonderful young life full of potential cut short."

Jameel Mutoola, imam of the Sufi mosque in Dublin's Talbot Street, told the Sunday Independent prayers were being said in all Dublin mosques for the victim and his family.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Shay Brennan said the death was "utterly tragic".

Sunday Independent

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