London fire: Parents of Grenfell Tower victim Mohammed Alhajai allowed to attend son’s funeral after support from 85,000 people

The family of a “kind and amazing” Syrian refugee killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze will be allowed to enter the UK for his funeral after tens of thousands of people called on the Home Office to grant them visas.

Mohammad Alhajali, 23, was the first victim of the devastating fire which ripped through a west London tower block to be formally identified by police.

More than 85,000 people signed a petition calling for his parents to be granted visas for the UK so they can attend his funeral.

A Home Office spokesman said on Saturday: “We made contact with Mr Alhajali’s family yesterday and assisted them in making arrangements for their travel to the UK in these terribly sad circumstances.”


Killed in blaze: Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali (PA)

The lobbying effort was set up by family friend Mirna Suleiman, 26, who had been ringing around numerous hospitals, rest centres and the casualty helpline for news of his fate before discovering he had not made it out alive.

Ms Suleiman said she chose to launch the campaign because as someone with Syrian family herself, she knows how difficult it is to obtain a visa for visits.

The Syria Solidarity Campaign posted on Facebook: “We’re very pleased to announce that the family of Mohammad Alhajali received visas to come to the UK for Mohammad’s funeral.


Heartbreaking: Omar Alhajali describes the moment he realised he had lost his brother (BBC News)

“It’s not the kind of reunion anyone would have wanted, but we know it will be comforting for the family as they grieve for the loss of Mohammad together.”

Mr Alhajali’s family said in a statement: “Mohammad was a very amazing and kind person. He gave love to everyone. He came to the UK because he had ambitions and aims for his life and for his family.

Grenfell Tower missing people – In pictures

“Our whole family will miss Mohammad dearly and he will never be forgotten.

“To God we belong and to him we return.”

Mr Alhajali’s older brother Omar – who was with him in the flat – survived the fire after they were separated on the way out. 

The percentage of rejected visa applications for visits from Syria has soared after the country’s devastating civil war began in 2011.

But the Home Office has established processes which allow it to consider visa applications outside the Immigration Rules on compassionate grounds.

The success comes as police announced 58 people are now presumed to have died in the fire which broke out on the Lancaster West Estate on Wednesday.

The number of people confirmed dead still stands at 30 and 16 bodies have been recovered.

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