Birmingham post-riot rally honours slain men

About 5,000 people gather for a rally in a Birmingham park to honour the three men who died as they protected businesses from looters during riots that flared up across Britain.

About 5,000 people gathered for a rally in a Birmingham park on Sunday to honour the three men who died as they protected businesses from looters during riots that flared up across Britain.

Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, died on Wednesday after they were hit by a car as they tried to protect a gas station and shops on Tuesday night.

Tariq Jahan, father of Haroon Jahan, made a poignant speech, along with relatives of Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir, to the crowd gathered in Summerfield Park on Sunday.

Jahan, wearing a T-shirt with the names of Haroon, Shazad and Abdul on it, talked about being a Muslim and how the month of Ramadan, which began on Aug. 1, was special.

Tariq Jahan, the father of Haroon Jahan, who died with two others while trying to protect businesses, told the crowd he hoped the three men 'did not die in vain.' (Darren Staples/Reuters)
"For us Muslims we believe the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are shut this month," he said. "So that gives me the strength to believe that the three boys did not die in vain. They died for this community and I hope that this community will remember them."

3rd suspect charged

Police have charged a third man in the deaths of Haroon Jahan and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir.

Adam King, 23, will be arraigned Monday at Birmingham Magistrate's Court on three counts of murder. Two others — Joshua Donald, 26, and a youth, 17, whose name has been withheld because of his age — were arraigned Sunday on the same charges.

Five people died during four days of gang-fuelled rioting that struck London Aug. 6 and spread to several other English cities. Police are still questioning two men over the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man during riots in Croydon, south London. And police said Sunday night they arrested a youth, 16, on suspicion of fatally beating a man, 68, who had tried to put out a fire set by rioters in Ealing, west London.

Britain's Justice Ministry says more than 1,200 people have been charged so far with riot-related offences. Several courts heard cases Sunday for the first time in modern history to try to reduce the backlog of cases.

Two judges also worked full time Sunday in authorizing search warrants for police raiding homes of suspected rioters in a hunt to reclaim stolen goods.

In remarks prepared for a speech on Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron declared that Britain faces a battle to find its moral compass following the riots.

Cameron said senior ministers of his two-year-old coalition government would spend the next few weeks formulating new policies designed to reverse what he described as a country being dragged down by many citizens' laziness, irresponsibility and selfishness.

He said "the responsible majority" was demanding that the government build "a stronger society."

Abdul Qudoos, the elder brother of Shazad and Musavir, wept as he addressed the crowd: "Please do not divide, be together, be at unity. Let people know that we are all good."

'Why do we have to kill one another?'

Jahan told BBC News he had received a mountain of mail as well as emails of support.

"I don't know how to respond," he said. "I am not important, but thank you from bottom of my heart from my wife and all our families."

The attack raised fears of gang warfare between the area's South Asian and Caribbean gangs because residents identified the car-borne assailants as black.

However, public appeals to avoid retaliation, particularly from Jahan, helped to keep passions at bay. At a news conference on Wednesday, he appealed for people of all backgrounds to live together in peace.

"Why do we have to kill one another?" he told reporters outside his home. "Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise calm down and go home."

Two dozen leaders from the community spoke at Sunday's two-hour affair, observing a minute of silence. Later, musicians took to the stage, performing under the banner "United Birmingham, One City, One Voice for Peace."

Amjad Hussain, the owner of the automotive business that employed the three men, said the rally "made a difference" and would bring the community together.