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'Hearts are broken': Funeral held for 16-year-old Halifax homicide victim

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Community members gathered at a Bedford, N.S., mosque for Ahmad Al Marrach — a 16-year-old murder victim — for his funeral on Wednesday.

A steady stream of cars headed to the Nova Scotia Islamic Community Center (NSICC). Within minutes, the parking lot was full of people there to pay their respects.

Family and friends greeted each other at the door with tears and long embraces.

The inside of the community centre was no different as heads were bowed in grief and prayers for Al Marrach.

“He was a good person and it was a tragedy. This happened to someone like him is just crazy to think about,” said Abdalbari Elsaraiti, a classmate of Al Marrach.

Elsaraiti, along with others from the school, attended the funeral. They were all shocked to hear Al Marrach had been killed.

“My heart dropped. I dropped my phone. Everything just dropped,” Elsaraiti said.

Al Marrach was allegedly stabbed inside a Halifax Shopping Centre parkade Monday, and he later died in hospital from his injuries. No one has been charged in his death.

Ummah Masjid and Community Centre social worker Hanaa Rashid knew the family through the mosque. She described Almarrach as “a young person who liked to scooter and do what other young people like to do.”

She said the community is devastated by his death.

“A lot of shock. A lot of grief. I think there’s anger too because when someone so young leaves and they leave this world so quickly,” she said.

Friends, family, neighbours, and the Muslim community joined for funeral prayers before the burial.

Even those who did not know the family very well attended.

“Hearts are broken, souls are broken. How does one process the fact that a 16-year-old gets stabbed to death. Where do you begin? I have daughters of my own,” said Fatima Cajee.

Following the prayers, the imam asked the youth to gather to front of the room around Al Marrach’s casket to reflect on life and death.

“Ask yourself this question. If I die now, whatever I did in the past, was it worth it?” A question the imam implored youth to reflect on.

He spoke to them about the importance of making good choices and encouraged them to use the resources community mosques offer when struggling.

Ummah Masjid and Community Centre is hosting an even Wednesday to help youth process the death of Al Marrach.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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