UK: Muslim burned family for 'being western'

world | Feb 21, 2007 | By Adrian Morgan

An inquest took place on Tuesday in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Caneze Riaz and her four daughters, who died in a blaze at their home in Accrington on November 1, 2006. 39-year old Caneze, her daughters Sayrah (16), Sophia (15), Alicia (10) and Hannah (3) had no way of escaping the fire as the doors of the home had been bolted. While they had slept, 49-year old Mohammed Riaz, husband to Caneze and father to the four girls, had poured gasoline around the house and had lit several fires. The five had died from smoke inhalation.

Police were told by associates and relatives that Mohammed Riaz was a conservative Muslim, and he was incensed that Caneze wanted to bring up the girls with Western ways.

Riaz had poured gasoline along the first floor landing and down the stairs, as well as in the living rooms. He had demanded arranged marriages for his daughters, but Caneze refused. The fanatical Muslim had destroyed Western-style clothes which had been bought for the girls.

On the night of the fire, Riaz had made three fires, outside the bedroom of his wife and his eldest daughter Sayrah.

Coroner at Blackburn Register Office, Michael SIngleton, took only 35 minutes to rule verdicts of unlawful killing for Caneze and her four daughters. Mrs Riaz had woken, and her DNA was found on a gasoline canister which had been placed in the doorway of her room - indicating she had tried to move it.

The fanatical father was pulled alive from the flames, having suffered 65% burns, but he died two days later at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

Only one member of the family survived. 17-year old son Adam Riaz was not in the house at the time, as he was in Christie Hospital in Manchester at the time. He was fighting leukaemia, a battle that he lost, dying on December 11.

Caneze's brother said: "Caneze wanted to help people make their lives better. She embraced Asian culture but worked hard to support those who felt suppressed by it. She was an excellent role model to young Asian women in Accrington, as well as to her own children and always encouraged them to live life to the full. It is true that her marriage to Mohammed (Riaz) had suffered over recent times and this is down to the different ways in which they approached their lives."

He said that Adam had suffered from Ewings Sarcoma and was not aware he was going to die. He had originally been given 3 to 6 months to live, but had clung to life for more than a year since his initial diagnosis.



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Adrian Morgan is a British bas

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