Monday 26 March 2012

Abu-bakr Rauf - Rest In Peace.

The news of Abu-bakr's sudden death has been one of the hardest things our city has had to cope with for many, many years. In his short life, he managed to do so much and was able to touch so many lives with his gentleness and his determination to work for peace and justice.

At 28, he leaves behind his remarkable wife, and a beautiful baby girl, who turned 1 a few days after his death of a sudden heart attack in the car park of the Mumtaz restaurant.

We went there the day after he died, and hundreds came to lay flowers and express their shock and sorrow. George Galloway spoke eloquently, as did Nafees, but it was hard not to cry when his wife Kauser spoke. Many had come from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, not just from the Bradford group, but from all over the North of England.

I had first met him during the bombing of Gaza in 2008. He had already been involved in the Stop the War Coalition, but the cause of Palestine became hugely important in his life, and he went on to be heavily involved in the 'Viva Palestina' convoys before becoming the chair the Bradford PSC group. It came as no surprise to me as it emerged that 'Palestine' was his last word.

At 20, he had been a founder member of the Respect Party. It was while working tirelessly for George Galloway's election as the Bradford West MP that Abu-bakr died. He never ceased in campaigning for the causes he believed in. He will always remain an inspiration to all of us who had the privilege of knowing him.

He was always welcome at Desmond Tutu House, and was a model Muslim. He often commented on and encouraged my blogging.  It is was his gentleness, kindness and dedication that will be my lasting memories of this extraordinary man of principle. Abu-bakr - rest in peace - God willing we will meet again on the other side.

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