A ‘true gentleman’ war veteran who helped found the Association of British Muslims has died aged 78
Tributes were paid to a ‘true gentleman’ and a Swansea military veteran who died of cancer.
David Rosser-Owen, who was 78, has been described as an important figure in the history of post-war Islam in Britain, having converted to the religion almost 60 years ago.
Born in Swansea in 1943 to a Welsh-Scottish family, Mr Rosser-Owen grew up as a devout Christian, attending St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Wales at St Helen’s Road, which would later become the Mosque of Swansea. Get all of our latest Swansea stories here
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As a teenager he moved to Shrewsbury and, after completing his education, joined the military and was sent to the Far Eastern Land Forces in Singapore. He had a distinguished military career in the British Army, reaching the rank of captain, and served in Brunei, Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia.
Mr. Rosser-Owen, a talented linguist who spoke French, German, Malay-Indonesian and studied Arabic and Malay at the University of London, worked as a writer, journalist and editor for Islamic World Review, the Islamic World Defense magazine, Arabia, Armada International, and later for Q-News International. He was also a war correspondent and stringer for the New Straits Times during the Bosnian Croatian War between 1992 and 1995 and served as a military adviser to the Bosnian government.
In terms of community activism, Mr. Rosser-Owen has been described as a vital link between the generations of pre-war and post-war converts to Islam. Along with others he established the Association of British Muslims in 1976. He was also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and a proud Freeman of the city. from Swansea.
He had been treated for cancer and died Sunday, December 5 in a hospital on the island of Islay where he had later lived. His funeral will be held at Swansea Central Mosque after the zuhr prayers (around 12:30 p.m.) on Monday, December 13. A funeral will then be held at Danygraig Cemetery, Port Tennant, Swansea.
In paying tribute to him, Mr. Rosser-Owen’s family said: “It has been so wonderful to read all the tributes that are pouring in about David. Most remember him as a true gentleman, a man of solid principles and someone to enjoy a good conversation with.
“It seems very appropriate to let him rest in Swansea and have his funeral take place in the old church he attended as a child.”
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