Father grieves for blaze family
A father who lost his wife and five of his children in a devastating house fire has led hundreds of mourners carrying the tiny coffin of his two-year-old son at a funeral service.
Bassam Kua, 51, had bandages on both arms and burns across his face as he touched the white box containing Yehya as it was taken to be buried.
Coffins with the bodies of mother Muna Elmufatish, 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, and brother Mustafa were lifted by grieving friends, family and community members at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery in Ilford, east London.
The six members of the family died after their London home was engulfed in flames in the early hours of Saturday.
Mr Kua survived the blaze with his 16-year-old daughter Nur, who is in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Mr Kua was described as being in a stable condition, but he will need to return to hospital after the funeral.
A spokesman for the cemetery said it was the "right decision" for the funeral to take place without Nur, and was in keeping with the Islamic belief that a body should be buried as quickly as possible.
London Fire Brigade said the family's chest freezer, which was in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, was the most likely cause of the blaze, which became the capital's worst house fire in more than a decade.
Gulam Ali, a funeral director from the East London Mosque, addressed the mourners after they prayed. He explained what he said to them.
"We don't believe in death, we believe in everlasting life," he said. "We do not believe that man is born of sin. Anyone who dies, say, under the age of 15, we called 'masoom', which means blameless, and we believe they go straight to heaven.
"I was basically saying to the congregation, thank you for your tears, for your respect, your prayers in your own way. We prayed for the daughter and the father, because they're left with less people in their family. Give them strength."