British imam says Muslims should ‘aspire to be like’ Qassem Soleimani in tribute to ‘martyred’ general at London Islamic Centre
- Muslims gathered at the Islamic Centre of England in Maida Vale, London
- Paid tribute to General Qassem Soleimani who was killed during an air strike
- The service was held 25 minutes after a man was arrested outside the centre
- Imam said Soleimani was a martyr and said people should aspire to be like him
By Luke Andres and Phoebe Eckersley for Mail Online, 6 January 2020
An imam paid a passionate tribute to assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani outside the Islamic Centre of England yesterday, describing him as a martyr and saying that people should ‘aspire to be like him’.
Dozens of Muslims attended a memorial service held at the religious hub in Maida Vale, London.
The imam, speaking in front of the building, addressed mourners and heaped praise on the slain general.
The crowds had squeezed into the building and sat beneath a painting of the Islamic Republic’s second-in-command and Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, as they paid their respects to those massacred in the US airstrikes.
Muslims in London mourn the death of Qassem Soleimani
The imam, speaking in front of the building, addressed mourners and heaped praise on the slain general
The crowds had squeezed into the building and sat beneath a painting of the Islamic Republic’s second-in-command and Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis
The imam said: ‘I would like to give you all my condolences but I would also like to congratulate you.
‘We are lucky enough to live in a time where we can see, touch and feel a man like Qassem Soleimani and we hope and we pray and we work hard to make sure that there will be many many more Qassem Soleimanis.
‘We aspire to become like him, we are jealous and we want the same thing for ourselves and our loved ones.
‘The beauty of Islam is that we can turn around to our enemy and say ”do your worst” because the worst is the best that can happen to me.’
Mourners sit beneath a picture of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at the Islamic Centre of England at Maida Vale in Kilburn, at around 5.15pm yesterday. Soleimani and al-Muhandis’ convoy decimated by three missiles from an MQ-9 Reaper Drone in the early hours of Friday outside Baghdad’s International Airport
The Muslim community pay tribute to the Quds commander (pictured) who helped the Shia militias kill hundreds of American troops during the US invasion of Iraq
Crowds gather outside the centre in Greater London ahead of the memorial on Saturday evening. The killing of the country’s highest ranking official is ‘tantamount to [the US] opening a war against Iran’, according to Tehran’s UN ambassador
A large group of men, with some young boys, was seen gathering at the Islamic Centre in Maida Vale, London, following the assassination.
The memorial service was held 25 minutes after a man was arrested outside the centre to prevent the breach of peace and for obstructing officers.
The Islamic Centre’s director has reportedly referred to Soleimani as an ‘honourable Islamic commander’ in a message of condolence.
Thousands lined the streets of Baghdad and Tehran yesterday in memory of the dead commanders, while protests against the attack took place across the US, Middle East and outside 10 Downing Street, London.
Soleimani, who died with five other men in the strike outside Baghdad airport, has been accused of helping Shia militias murder hundreds of American troops during the Invasion of Iraq.
US President Donald Trump said the strike was carried out to save the lives of hundreds in America and Europe.
Demonstrators took to the streets of New York, Washington DC and London to denounce the violence and call on Trump to de-escalate the conflict.
Outside Downing Street protesters chanted against the war while British-Iranians arrived holding placards that read ‘Down with Khamenei’ and others raised the pre-Islamic flag of Iran.
Palestinians also burned American flags in Gaza City, while an angry mob set fire to US flags in Pakistan, and around 150 pro-Iranian demonstrators held Iraqi militia flags and condemned the US as an aggressor.
The ceremony came 25 minutes after a man was detained by police outside the Islamic Centre, this evening. It is understood that turday
+14he incident is not connected to the memorial event
The incident took place before the centre was due to hold a memorial community meeting in memory of Soleimani, at around 4.50pm on Saturday
However, the assassination was also met with celebrations by some groups in Iraq and in Canada, where people were pictured dancing in the street.
Three missiles from an MQ-9 Reaper drone hit the convoy Soleimani was travelling in outside Baghdad International Airport, killing the architect of the country’s regional security strategy and five others.
Tehran has reacted angrily to the attack, saying the US’s move is tantamount to a ‘declaration of war’ and promising a ‘severe revenge’.
Iraq’s prime minister has also threatened to expel all US troops from the country after the ‘brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty’.
The Islamic Republic was previously accused of masterminding a bomb attack on Pan Am Flight 103 as it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers.
The attack took place less than five months after a US battleship shot down an Iran Air passenger jet as it flew over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people on board.
Libya has also been blamed, although at the time Iran’s allies and proxy forces promised to take revenge.
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