x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

RAK Ruler leads prayers to honour a slain officer

Salem Saif Al Mazroui was gunned down by robbers in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.

Friends and family gather around the grave as the body of Salem Saif al Mazroui is covered in a cemetery near Saif Bin Ali Al Khatra Mosque in Adhen, Ras al Khaimah.
Friends and family gather around the grave as the body of Salem Saif al Mazroui is covered in a cemetery near Saif Bin Ali Al Khatra Mosque in Adhen, Ras al Khaimah.

Ras Al Khaimah // The Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah led hundreds of mourners in prayers yesterday at the funeral of an Emirati military officer who was killed by robbers in Texas.

About 700 men gathered at 3pm at the Saif bin Ali Al Khatra Mosque, four kilometres east of the village of Adhen where the victim, Salem Saif Al Mazroui, was raised.

The mosque, the largest in the village, was not big enough to accommodate the hundreds who turned out to pay their respects to the family, including Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, Ruler of RAK, and several tribal sheikhs.

Mr Al Mazroui's body arrived back in the UAE at noon on Thursday.

He had been in the US to accompany his father, who was receiving cancer treatment at a Houston medical centre, when he was shot dead in their flat late on Sunday evening.

"It's a tragedy today. Everybody is still in shock and we can't believe that this happened to him," said his uncle, Saeed Mohammed, adding Mr Al Mazroui was known for his strong family values. He and his wife had a baby daughter.

"Living in a small village, every kid has his dreams," said Mr Mohammed. "Last year when he got married, he had his whole life in front of him and this life has stopped now.

"His wife and his very young daughter have to live without a father. But we are Muslims and we know that everything happens for a reason, and this is an act of God and no one will object to it."

Prayers began at 4pm and six pall bearers carried the casket up a rocky dirt path to a small graveyard scattered with stones and acacia trees. Nearly all who attended placed a handful of rocks and dirt on the grave.

Even old men who struggle to walk made the journey to the village of Adhen to give their prayers and offer condolences to the family.

In the UAE, funeral ceremonies at the mosque are traditionally only attended by men. Women usually convene in the family home.

"It was an amazing crowd of people from many places - from RAK, from Fujairah, from Al Ain, from Abu Dhabi," said Mohammed Al Mazrouei, 22.

"They are not related but you know they follow their feelings. Many people did not know Salem and did not know his family but they are affected by his story."

A tent for men will be open for the next three days.

"You would believe that Salem was loved by every person from all over the UAE," said Mr Mohammed.

"We really feel supported; we don't feel alone. It's just the nature of the people here. If something happens to one person, all the people gather to support him."

 

azacharias@thenational.ae