Muslim community rallies to cover funeral costs for ‘brother Ahmed’

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Yellowknife’s Muslim community has rallied to raise $10,000 for the funeral of “brother Ahmed,” a longtime City Cab driver who died last week after being found unconscious inside his taxi.

Ahmed Mahamud Ali was pronounced dead in the early hours of Nov. 19, after being located in the backseat of his cab outside of Stanton Territorial Hospital.

Elias Schiller, 18, and James Schiller, 49, both face murder charges in connection with his death, which was quickly deemed suspicious by Yellowknife Mounties.

In the days following the death of Ali – who has been described by friends and co-workers as a devote Muslim – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)-Canada Islamic Centre of Yellowknife (ICYK) launched a fundraising initiative to cover the cost of Ali’s funeral.

Ali didn’t have family in the city, and his brother chose to hold a funeral service in Edmonton on Friday.

By the time the funeral had ended, ICYK had collect enough funds – and then some – to pay for Ali’s funeral, according to ICYK chair Nazim Awan.

“Our community rallied,” said Awan in an interview with Yellowknifer on Tuesday. “Everybody just chipped in …”

Following the news of Ali’s death, Awan said the ICYK executive committee held a special meeting to flesh out fundraising plans.

Awan said ICYK members and families from Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and more all did their part when asked to help the cause. Some donated as much as $500, said Awan.

Donations are still open, and with members raising more than the target goal, Awan said extra funds will go towards the “construction of the new Islamic Centre project.”

“On behalf of brother Ahmed,” said Awan.

Awan told Yellowknifer the outpouring of support makes him feel like “we’ve done our job.”

“(I’m) personally very motivated by people’s enthusiasm to be part of this. People have donated more than what they generally donate,” he said, adding it’s “very satisfying” to deliver on a committed to Ali’s family.

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