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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HOUSE FIRE KILLS A MOTHER WITH HER FIVE CHILDREN IN LONDON



A father who lost his wife and five of their children in a devastating house fire led hundreds of mourners at a funeral service today.
Covering his injuries with bandages on both arms and burns across his face, Bassam Kua, 51, touched the white and mahogony coffins before they were taken to be buried, at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery in Ilford, East London.
Inside were his wife Muna Elmufatish, 41, and their children Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, Mustafa, five, and two-year-old Yehya.
Grieving: With his hands in bandages and visibly upset, Bassam Kua said goodbye to his wife and five of their children today
Grieving: With his hands in bandages and visibly upset, Bassam Kua said goodbye to his wife and five of their children today
Mr Kua is guided along the line of coffins containing his wife and five of his children
Mr Kua is guided along the line of coffins containing his wife and five of his children
The six members of the family died after their London home was engulfed in flames in the early hours of Saturday morning. 
Mr Nua survived the blaze along with his 16-year-old daughter, Nur, who is still in hospital where her condition is described as critical but stable. So bad are her injuries, however, she was unable to go to today's service.
Reflection: Mourners prayed in front of the coffins containing the bodies of Muna Elmufatish, 41, Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, Mustafa, five, and Yehya, two
Reflection: Mourners prayed in front of the coffins containing the bodies of Muna Elmufatish, 41, Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, Mustafa, five, and Yehya, two
They bowed to the east at the Garden of Peace cemetery in Ilford, East London at today's ceremony
They bowed to the east at the Garden of Peace cemetery in Ilford, East London at today's ceremony
The congregation faced east as they bowed and kneeled in prayer looking over the coffins, laid end to end, with some mourners wiping tears from their eyes and holding their heads in their hands.
Imam Haddad told mourners: 'We don't believe in death, we believe in everlasting life.
'We do not believe that man is born of sin. Anyone who dies, say, under the age of 15, we called "masoom", which means blameless, and we believe they go straight to heaven.
'And we also believe very, very firmly that if God takes a child away from a mother or father, it's a key to heaven.
'So that child will say to God on judgment day "God, you took me so early from my parents, let me join you in paradise".
Afterwards he said: 'I was basically saying to the congregation, thank you for your tears, for your respect, your prayers in your own way.
'We prayed for the daughter and the father, because they're left with less people in their family. Give them strength.'
The community leader said he also told the mourners to take steps to avoid another tragedy.
'I said, you should get yourself a smoke alarm for £5, or you can get the fire brigade to fit them for free,' he said.
The mother was the last of the six to be buried.
Investigations into the fire are continuing but London Fire Brigade said it is likely that a chest freezer in the hallway at the bottom of stairs was likely to be the fire.
On Saturday, hundreds of firefighters gathered at the ExCel centre in London where they held a minutes silence for the family.
Cemetery manager Mohamed Omer said of Mr Kua after the funeral: 'Almighty Allah has given him a lot of courage and a lot of strength.
'He was very strong, and that just shows how strong his faith is in humanity, and how strong his faith is in religion, because he coped admirably today.
'I'm sure he is hurting deeply, but he actually did not show any signs of breaking down.'
Post-mortem examinations found that the six victims died from inhalation of fumes when the blaze raged through their two-storey semi-detached house in Sonia Gardens, Neasden.
Investigations continue into what caused the devastating fire, which police do not believe was suspicious.
An inquest into the six deaths was opened yesterday, but was adjourned to February 16.
Mr Omer added: 'It has been a tragic day for the community.
'Specifically, when you're trying to bury a young child of two years old in the presence of the father who is witnessing the burying of all his next of kin, his wife and his children, has been a very traumatic affair.
'However, I take great pleasure in saying that so much of the community has come out to try and give as much strength and as much grievance and condolence to the family that has been affected.'



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