Father who lost son in riot tragedy honoured for peace plea

A man who appealed for calm after the death of his son during this summer’s riots was honoured last night for the compassion, dignity and calm he showed in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Tariq Jahan’s son Haroon, 21, was one of three young men mown down by a car while trying to protect their community from a mob of looters when the disturbances hit Birmingham.

Mr Jahan had rushed to help the victims without knowing his son was among them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He had already tried to revive brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and 31-year-old Abdul Musavir, when he turned over the third victim.

Only hours after his son’s death, van driver Mr Jahan took a stand outside his home and made a heartfelt plea for peace as police feared revenge attacks would spark a tide of racial violence.

He urged: “Blacks, Asians, whites – we all live in the same community. Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise calm down and go home ... please.”

The 45-year-old was given a “special recognition” award at the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards in London last night.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Organisers said: “At a time when many despaired for Britain itself, Tariq proved why the killers, looters and thugs will never win.”

The event at the Grosvenor House in Park Lane, which is in its 13th year, was hosted by Carol Vorderman and featured stories of amazing heroism and courage.

Among those receiving awards from celebrities and stars, including the Prince of Wales, Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole, was Teenager of Courage, Danielle Bailey, 13, from Otley, in West Yorkshire, who, despite losing her hands and lower legs to meningitis at the age of four, has now set her sights on Paralympic glory. Within a year of taking up swimming, she won a gold medal at the Disability Sports Events National Junior Championships last year and has notched up startling world-class competitive times.

Lucy Gale, from Pontefract, who risked her own life by dashing into the path of a freight train to save two stricken motorists whose cars had collided on a level crossing near Selby was honoured for outstanding bravery.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 31-year-old mother-of-one dragged pensioner Mary Schneider out of one of the cars to safety, drove the car out of the path of the oncoming coal train, before returning to drag Kelvin Brook from his vehicle as the train sped by.

The winners are selected by a judging committee which this year includes the Olympian double gold medallist Rebecca Adlington.