Tributes paid to Crawley mosque elder who died after collision

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A founder of a mosque died days before it was unveiled to the public.

Mohamed Akhter Shamim, 80, of Baker Close, Southgate, died at East Surrey Hospital on Thursday (June 5) after he was in collision with a car three weeks earlier.

The Crawley Islamic Centre (CIC), London Road, Langley Green, which he played a key part in founding in the late 70s, was officially re-opened on Sunday.

Mohammed Parvaiz, 51, CIC chairman, said: “He will be very dearly missed in the community.

“He was everywhere where he was needed.

“The way he spoke was very soft, he never showed aggression in any form.”

Mr Shamim and other senior members of the community bought a bungalow at the site for use as a prayer room in the late 70s.

The building was demolished in 2012 to make way for a three-floor, purpose built mosque.

The event on Sunday saw the official opening of its ground floor.

The remaining floors were expected to open within a year.

Mr Shamin was in a collision with a car at the junction of the A23 London Road and Martyrs Avenue after he left the mosque on May 18.

Mr Parez said: “He was very proud of seeing the building and reopening of the mosque.

“Just minutes later he crossed the road.”

He added: “It’s hard to believe. It’s so tragic.”

Farak Jamal, 44, CIC secretary, ran out of the mosque held Mr Shamin’s hand after he saw him lying on the road.

He said: “I’ve known him most of my life.

“He was a great family man, loving to his children.

“He also encouraged me to keep strong.”

Tributes were paid to Mr Shamim’s contributions to the community at the re-opening.

Mr Jamal said up to 100 people, including Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and politicians, attended the inauguration.

He said: “It was a deep shock to all of us.”

Mr Shamim and other senior members of the community raised funds to buy the bungalow. He later promoted community values to young Muslims.

Mr Jamal said the mosque’s construction realised Mr Shamim’s vision for his community.

Sussex Police said Mr Shamin was injured in a collision with a white Dacia Sandero car at the junction of the A23 London Road and Martyrs Avenue just before 6pm on May 18.

Appealing for witnesses, Sgt Neil Walker said: “Tragically Mr Shamim died in hospital.

“Our sympathies go to his family and the local Muslim community of which he was a valued member.”

Following the accident, car driver Alan Wilsdon, 52, a family careworker, of Wilmington Close, Broadfield, appeared before Crawley magistrates on May 28.

He pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, having been measured as having 47 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

He was fined £110, disqualified from driving for 12 months, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20.

Wilsdon’s guilty plea was taken into consideration when sentencing.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The incident is being reviewed by the Central Road Policing Unit following Mr Shamim’s death.”

Witnesses are asked to contact police on 101 or email quoting Operation Alness.