Last updated at 1:01 PM on 09th September 2009
A devout Muslim pensioner attacked by a race-hate gang of schoolboys died yesterday.
Ekram Haque, 67, lost his fight for life a week after he was battered to the ground in front of his three-year-old granddaughter, Marian.
As revealed in yesterday's Daily Mail, he suffered horrific head injuries in the assault outside a mosque in Tooting, South-West London
, where he had just prayed.
As he and Marian waited for a lift, the gang ran up behind him and clubbed him around the head.
Two other worshippers chased the thugs away but Mr Haque - described by friends as a 'gentle giant' - had suffered horrific head injuries.
His granddaughter has been left 'very shaken and disturbed', said her father, Mr Haque's son Arfan. Graphic images of the attack were caught on CCTV.
formally launched a murder inquiry after Mr Haque passed away at St George's Hospital
, Tooting, where he had been on a life-support machine since the attack.
Police are linking the assault on the retired care worker to a series of other attacks on elderly Asian people near the mosque.
Three of the earlier victims were also pensioners. As local community tensions grew, police stepped up patrols near the Idara E Jaaferiya mosque where Mr Haque was attacked last Monday.
Police say they are treating the attack on Mr Haque as racially motivated.
Arfan, 35, a consumer law adviser, described the incident as 'mindless violence' but urged people in the Muslim community to remain calm.
He said: 'I would urge people in our community to remember that Islam is a peaceful religion and does not condone revenge attacks. If you want to do anything, just pray.
'I have been very impressed how the police have dealt with the attack, and have full confidence in what they are doing.
'Obviously I am concerned for my daughter, who has given a very vivid account of what happened.'
Ekram Haque was born in Calcutta and moved to Belfast
in search of work in 1972. He met his wife there and they moved to London in the early 1980s.
Mr Haque originally worked in textiles but later became a warden in a home for the disabled. He retired last year and was looking after Marian on weekdays.
At the time of the attack, he was making final preparations to take her to Pakistan
His son said: 'My father loved living in Britain. He considered himself a Londoner. He was enjoying his retirement and seeing a lot of his granddaughter.
'He was a kind, loving person, who always went out of his way to support anyone who needed support. I just want justice.'
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, from Scotland Yard's homicide and serious crime command, said: 'We urge people who may have been attacked, or who may know who these youths are, to come forward.'
Anyone with information is urged to call the police on 020 8721 4205 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Two youths aged 14 and 15 have appeared before Wimbledon Youth Court accused of committing grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Haque.
- They and another boy, aged 12, are also accused of conspiracy to commit GBH and two counts of assault on victims in their 40s and 70s. Another 14-year-old has been charged over the attacks, but has yet to appear in court.