Thousands mourn at funeral for Abdirahman Abdi
Published Friday, July 29, 2016 6:55PM EDT
The funeral for the Ottawa man who died following a confrontation with police took place at the Ottawa Main Mosque Friday.
The body of 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi, a Somali-Canadian, was taken into the mosque in a plain plywood box, shrouded in a green blanket, and adorned with golden Arabic lettering.
Family members cried as his casket was carried inside for the funeral service.
The president of the Ottawa Muslim Association (OMA) estimated more than 2000 people attended the funeral.
A woman who used to live in the same apartment as the Abdi family said it was a very difficult day.
“I feel very devastated, very shaken up and I just want to take this time to grieve for this passing,” said Ifrah Yusuf, a former neighbour.
As the mosque quickly filled with people attending the funeral, many guests set up outside on blankets.
“We wanted to show support, show solidarity and to show we’re affected by the events,” said one man who did not know the family personally.
The funeral service was led by Iman Mohamed Hachimi and began with a statement delivered by a representative of the family.
In the Muslim community the funeral and burial are typically performed within 24 hours, however, this was delayed due to the police autopsy and investigation.
In attendance at the funeral was Mayor Jim Watson who spoke at the funeral.
“This is a time for grieving and not finger pointing. I think what we have to do is allow the SIU to do a full and thorough reporter… and let the judicial system take its course,” said Watson.
The president of OMA, Naeem Malik, said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau wanted to attend, but was told it was not a good idea.
“He wanted to come, and we actually said to wait until we tell you,” said Malik. “See we feel some of the people might get emotional, we don’t want that happening.”
Instead a community meeting is being organized between the Chief and the Muslim community in the coming weeks.