An estimated 20,000 Muslims gathered in a park in Birmingham, UK for the funeral of Islamic TV channel founder Hazrat Shaykh Qibla Pir Alauddin Siddiqui Sahib, in what has been described as one of the largest funerals the city has ever seen.
Pir Alauddin Siddiqui, who died yesterday, was regarded as a global spiritual leader for Sunni Muslims and was head of a mosque in the district of Aston, as well as head of a controversial Islamic TV channel.
The huge crowds gathered at Aston Park, where a service took place before Pir Alauddin Siddiqui’s body was flown to Pakistan.
Birmingham City Councillor Waseem Zaffar told the Birmingham Mail: “This was a man with a huge following. He was a spiritual leader who did a lot of work around education, both in England and Pakistan, but he made his HQ in the UK.
“He was a man who strived to bring people of all religions together. He promoted love, peace and harmony.”
In 2006, Pir Alauddin Siddiqui founded Noor TV, an Islamic channel based in the UK to “counter the biased views of the mainstream media regarding Islam”.
However, the channel was fined £85,000 in 2013 after presenter Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami said on air that it was a duty for Muslims to murder anyone who insults Muhammed.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the broadcast could have radicalised young viewers and incited them to commit violent acts.
“The mission of our life is to protect the sanctity of our beloved Lord,” the presenter said. “May Allah accept us wherever there is a need to kill a blasphemer. We are ready, and should be ready at all times, to kill a blasphemer.”