A father and son have been injured in a hit-and-run outside a mosque after saying prayers in Leicester and the dad is in intensive care.
The father and his teenage son were crossing Humberstone Raod at the nearby Masjid At-Taqwa Mosque in Harewood Street, when the incident happened, shortly before 1am on Friday 31st May..
The Imam, Mohamed Ismail,at the Albayaaan Arabic Foundation in Belgrave and a family friend shared an update on his condition as worshippers gathered at the mosque for evening prayers marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
He said: “He is a close friend of mine and fellow member of Leicester’s Sri Lankan Muslim community.
“He is a frequent visitor to the mosque as he lives nearby.
“I’ve known him for about 20 years and his children and mine grew up together.
“I only spoke to him on Thursday evening, it was for about 45 minutes, and we talked about two things – children and education – they are the two things he is most passionate about and he always leads prayers at the mosque for the children and their achievements at school.”
Mr Ismail said his friend is being treated in intensive care for trauma to his head, however, the son has since been discharged from hospital having sustained relatively minor injuries.
“I spoke to his brother, who is with him in hospital,” he said. “He told me the son has now come home.
“I asked him how he is and he said he was ‘okay’ but that his father is in a much more serious condition.
“He is currently sedated in the intensive care unit and has undergone an operation to his jaw to make it easier for him to breathe.
“Doctors are also concerned about a possible blood clot on his brain, however, they are hopeful he will be okay.
“It’s not life-threatening but it will take quite a while for him to recover.
“I’ve also spoken to his wife and she asked everyone to continue to pray for him. The family is obviously very upset, they never expected anything like this to happen.
Mr Ismail said that the son is in the middle of his GCSE exams.
He said: “He’s got his final week of exams coming up next week. But he’s a strong character and we will all be there to offer him our support.”
The Imam described his friend as a “very social man” who is very highly respected in his community.
“He’s always very helpful and is an active member of the community and a spokesman for Sri Lankans in Leicester, especially Sri Lankan Muslims,” he said.
“Our community is saying special prayers for him.”
‘I just couldn’t believe what I was witnessing’
Idris Waraich, chairman of the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque committee, said the community was still “coming to terms” with what has happened to their friend and neighbour.
He said: “People are shocked and just trying to come to terms with what has happened – especially at such a spiritual time as Ramadan.
“To come out from prayer time to witness something so horrific – people were badly traumatised.”
Mr Waraich added: “My two daughters, who are aged 16 and 23, were standing next to the man and his son, preparing to cross the road, when it happened, so had a very close call themselves.
“They saw him lying lifeless in the road. They are both in shock and still very upset.
“By the time I arrived on the scene the emergency services were already there.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.
“It’s difficult to express my emotions – this is such a close community and everyone knows each other.
“All our thoughts are with him and his family and we pray that he make a speedy and complete recovery.”
Police have arrested a 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Leicestershire Police said that although the incident was not terror related, increased patrols were ordered in the Humberstone Road area to offer reassurance to the local community.
A spokesman said officers are still trying to establish the “exact circumstances” of the incident and appealed to anyone who saw the blue coloured, three-door hatchback believed to have been involved to get in touch.
They would also like to hear from anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage.
If you can help, call the police 101 number.