Driver’s actions of stopping on Portsmouth road to pray are condemned

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NO ONE in this world would agree with what this driver has done.

That was the message from parent Abu-Suyeb Tanzam who said he was shocked after a Muslim coach driver stopped in the middle of a busy Portsmouth road to pray.

Mr Tanzam, a practising Muslim from Portsmouth, said prayer times are flexible and there was no need for the driver to pull over and pray.

‘No-one in this world would agree with what he’s done, I was shocked,’ he said.

‘I was really, really distressed at hearing he would put children at risk.

‘If you miss prayer then you can do it a different time. It is flexible up to an hour-and-a-half or two hours.

‘Only evening prayer is more strict but even that is manageable.’

Mr Tanzam added: ‘He should be investigated by the company for doing that.’

As reported in The News, furious parents claimed their children’s lives were put at risk when the bus driver stopped abruptly on the Eastern Road.

Some 50 children, parents and teachers from Meon Junior School in Southsea were returning home from a school trip to London when the incident happened.

The coach driver stopped his vehicle in the middle of the Eastern Road, just before rush-hour, for 10 minutes while he conducted his daily prayer.

The man’s actions have since been condemned by parents and have prompted an investigation by Cosham-based coach company Vision Travel.

Mum Claire Powell, 35, was furious. Her nine-year-old daughter Heidi was one of those on the coach at the time.

Claire, of Cedar Grove, Copnor, said: ‘I was absolutely livid when I heard.

‘He just stops on a busy road without any warning, gets out, washes his feet, pulls out a mat and starts to pray.

‘There were people swerving to avoid the coach and beeping. He was putting children’s lives at risk.

‘At the end of the day he has a duty of care to fulfil. This isn’t about his religion – he simply shouldn’t have done it.’

Worried mum Adele Richards feared for the safety of her daughter Ruby, nine.

The 41-year-old, of Anchorage Park, said: ‘All it would have taken was for a big lorry to come flying round the corner and hit them – that would have been very serious, there could have been fatalities. It would have been horrendous.’

Mum Dawn Barker, 30, of Stride Avenue, Copnor, added: ‘He could have waited literally two minutes to get to the school. You shouldn’t go and endanger anybody’s lives like this.’

And Holly Sharpe, 31, of Milton said she would not let her children go on future school trips without her being with them every step of the way.

City councillor and practising Muslim Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury was also shocked by the driver’s actions.

He said: ‘It is sad what he has done. If he is doing a job like that then he should care for the children first and make sure the children are safe before he goes to pray.

‘He should not put the children at risk to pray. That is wrong.’