A Galwayman who is making a documentary about his late father - Mussarrat Ali Ansari, one of the first Pakistani Muslims to live in the city - is asking for Galwegians who knew him to help out by sharing their memories of the man.
Fahad Ansari, who was born and raised in Renmore, but who now lives in England, will be in Galway between February 12 and 16 to make the documentary, and he is hoping to meet with people who knew his father.
"I was only seven years old when he passed away but have heard enough about him that I could write a book," Fahad told the Galway Advertiser, "but I want those who knew him to share their memories to be recorded and preserved."
Mussarrat Ali Ansari arrived in Galway in 1976, and worked as an engineer at the Galway Textile Printers on Sandy Road. After it closed down after he bought Carrolls Supermarket on Renmore Road, where he became a well-known and popular member of the local community.
"He was unable to say 'Bo' to anyone who came to him looking for help," says Fahad. "As the Pakistani Muslim community slowly grew, taxi drivers would bring any new arrivals to my dad's shop and tell them, 'Mussarrat will look after you'. I remember often seeing new people in our house as my father helped them settle into Galway. Together with two doctors from South Africa, my father opened Galway's first mosque in Sandyview Drive, Riverside. At the time, there was no imam in Galway and my father would often lead the prayer."
Tragically, Mussarrat was killed in a road traffic accident on his way home from Athenry on October 24 1989, leaving behind a wife and four children, aged five, seven, nine, and 10. Fahad now wants to make an iPhone documentary, about his father and he is "looking for anyone who knew him to share even one memory that they have with me".
Galwegians who knew or remember Mussarrat are encouraged to get in touch with Fahad on 0044 - 786 807 616 or email [email protected]. "I would be very grateful," says Fahad. "I will come to see them wherever they are. The filming is all being done on an iPhone so there will be no major intrusion into your living rooms."