Muslim community leader remembered

"HE believed in community in the truest sense of the word"These were the words spoken by the mayor of Ipswich at a memorial service for a loved and respected member of the Muslim community.

"HE believed in community in the truest sense of the word"

These were the words spoken by the mayor of Ipswich at a memorial service for a loved and respected member of the Muslim community.

Many people who had known Azizur Rahman paid their respects at the multi-faith service held at Ipswich's Unitarian Meeting House yesterday.

Several were tearful as they described how Mr Rahman, who last month died suddenly at the age of 73, touched their lives.

Mr Rahman, of Sinclair Drive, Ipswich, first came to England in 1957 as, his son Yaqub said, a "true economic migrant".

He married his wife Antonietta in 1965 and had three sons - Yaqub, Yousuf and Ayub - and two grandchildren Amelie and Noah.

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A devout Muslim, Mr Rahman endeavoured to teach people about Islam and to establish the Ipswich Bangladeshi Mosque and Community Centre.

He was also a founder member what later became the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) and of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource (SIFRE).

Mr Rahman also owned and ran the Koh-i-Noor restaurant in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich.

Most recently, he was striving to establish a purpose-built mosque for Muslims in and around Ipswich.

The service, which opened and closed with readings from the Qur'an, was conducted by the Reverend Clifford Reed.

Mr Reed, president of SIFRE and honorary vice-president of ISCRE, said: "I remember when Aziz brought together people of different faiths at a time when our good relations locally seemed to be threatened.

"Today is a gathering that reflects Aziz as that beacon of diversity and is to thank Aziz for all he was and all he did."

Penny Breakwell, mayor of Ipswich, said: "How can one express the feelings of warmth, respect and love with which Aziz Rahman was held - not by a small number of people, but by hundreds.

"He showed us how important and how easy it is to look past people's outer appearances and into their souls and to love them for all that they are."

Mr Rahman's eldest son Yaqub said: "In so many ways, I wish I wasn't here, but this service also fills me with an enormous sense of pride.

"Words are inadequate to express the sense of loss felt by myself and by the family. But he knew how much he was loved and how much he loved us."

Mohammed Khan, speaking on behalf of the Muslim community and the Bangladeshi Support Centre, said: "His zeal for life - and particularly for improving the image of the Bangladeshi community, asylum seekers and Muslims in general was unbelievable."

Tributes were also paid on behalf of the Sikh and Hindu communities and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Representatives from Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk's Social Care Services and Suffolk Carers also paid tribute.

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