US: Mass funeral held for 15 Muslims killed in New York apartment fire
By Dildar Baykan
WASHINGTON (AA): A mass funeral prayer was held on Sunday for the Muslims who lost their lives in the deadly apartment fire in the Tremont section of the Bronx, New York City.
The fire, which is believed to have been started by a space heater.
The funeral was held at the Islamic Cultural Center in the Bronx for 15 of the 17 victims of the apartment building fire. The attendance was mostly from the Gambia.
Hundreds filled the mosque and many hundreds more filled tents outside or huddled in the cold to pay their respects. The services were beamed onto jumbo screens outside and in other rooms of the mosque.
The dead ranged in age from 2 to 50.
“This is a very sad situation. But everything comes from Allah. Tragedies always happen, but we should thank Allah that we are all able to come together,” said the uncle of a victim named Haja Dukuray — who lost her entire family of five, including her husband and their three kids.
“There’s outcry. There’s injustice. There’s neglect,” said Sheikh Musa Drammeh, who was among those leading the response to the tragedy.
“We want the world to know that they died because they lived in the Bronx,” Drammeh asserted. “If they lived in midtown Manhattan, they would not have died. Why? Because they wouldn’t need to use space heaters. This is a public outcry. Therefore, there has to be responsibility from the elected officials to change the conditions that causes death every single day.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as two officials from the Gambian government, were present at the funeral.
“When tragedies occur, we come together,” Schumer said at the funeral.
Besides, “I’m here to voice the pain that all New Yorkers feel,” Adams said.
“What is happening here in the Bronx, it is what is happening here across our city in communities where Black, brown and immigrant people are,” said Adams at the service.
After the funeral ceremony, 11 of the bodies were sent to New Jersey to be buried, and four others will be buried in the Gambia at the request of their families.
At least 17 people, including eight children, died in the apartment fire and 63 people were poisoned by smoke on Jan 9.
According to the New York Mayor’s Office, the majority of the residents in the building were immigrant Muslims from Gambia, a country in West Africa.
Imam Musa Kaba read out the names of the 17 people, including eight children, who died at the high-rise on East 181st Street a week ago. All of them were Muslim immigrants from West Africa. Two young children were already laid to rest earlier this week.
List of the victims released by Police:
Fatoumata Drammeh, 50, female; Foutmala Drammeh, 21, female; Muhammed Drammeh, 12, male; Nyumaaisha Drammeh, 19, female; Haji Dukary, 49, male; Fatoumata Dukureh, 5, female; Haja Dukureh, 37, female; Mariam Dukureh, 11, female; Mustapha Dukureh, 12, male; Omar Jambang, 6, male; Sera Janneh, 27, female; Haouwa Mahamadou, 5, female; Seydou Toure, 12, male; Fatoumata Tunkara, 43, female; Isatou Jabbie, 31, female; Hagi Jawara, 47, male; Ousmane Konteh, 2, male.
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Photo: A funeral service is held at the Islamic Cultural Center of the Bronx for the victims of the Bronx apartment building fire in New York, United States on January 16, 2022. Photographer: Tayfun Coşkun/AA]
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