Muslim community in Finsbury Park still reeling from death of blind iman

The Muslim community has been left in a state of “shock and disbelief” following the killing of a blind imam at a Finsbury Park mosque on Friday.

Nearly a week on from the death of 39-year-old Sheikh Maymoun Zazour at the Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road, the manager of the North Central London Mosque (NCLM), Mohammed Kozbar, said the community is still reeling from the incident.

He said: “Things have settled down a bit with time and now the man has been charged it has eased the tension. But people still don’t believe what has happened and are in a state of shock and disbelief.”

Hamza Boutouil, 24, of no fixed abode, was arrested at the scene and later charged with murder. He has been remanded in custody until a hearing in December.

It has also emerged this week that Sheikh Maymoun fled his home country of Lebanon in 2007 after surviving a car bomb attempt on his life and sought asylum in the UK.

He was a popular figure in the community since becoming imam at the mosque two years ago, and around 500 people turned up to mourn him at a vigil at Holloway School in Hilldrop Road, Holloway, on Saturday.

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, has also paid tribute to him this week and said: “He was a decent, honourable man who never saw his blindness as an impediment.

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“He was good at talking and even better at listening to people. I had an Iftar supper with him just last week and I complemented him on the work he had done for the community.

“He thought he would be safe in Britain, but tragically he wasn’t. It is a terrible loss.”

A statement from the Muslim Association of Britain said: “The news of his death has indeed shocked the whole community. This tragic news came like a thunder bolt to the hearts of many; with many still baffled as to why and how this dreadful incident took place.”

A post mortem revealed the cause of death was from assault injuries but further tests are taking place.

An inquest was opened and adjourned on Tuesday.

Mr Kozbar hopes that the funeral will be held next week.