Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

'I've attended many funerals but nothing like this', says Sheikh as thousands mourn Syrian siblings killed in Canada fire

The siblings – Ahmad, Rola, Mohammed, Ola, Hala, Rana and Abdullah – were aged between four months and 15 years

About 2,000 mourners attended the funeral over the weekend of seven children from a Syrian refugee family who died last week in a house fire in Halifax, eastern Canada.

Ahmad Barho and siblings Rola, Mohammed, Ola, Hala, Rana and Abdullah – whose ages ranged from four months to 15 years – all perished in the as-yet unexplained blaze at their home on Tuesday.

Their father, Ebraheim Barho, suffered serious burns and remains in a medically induced coma in hospital, according to Canadian media. Their mother, Kawthar Barho, was less seriously injured. She was present at the funeral.

"I've attended many funerals but nothing like this, so please bear with me," said Sheikh Hamza, who spoke at the moving ceremony, struggling to overcome grief.

The Barho family arrived in Canada in 2017, and were among an estimated 40,000 refugees received by the country since 2015.

The funeral, broadcast on several news channels, was carried out according to Muslim tradition.

Due to the number of people attending, it took place not in a mosque but in a cavernous hall on the Halifax waterfront, with all 2,000 seats full and several mourners standing.

"We have all been affected by this tragedy," said Nova Scotia lieutenant governor Arthur Leblanc.

Member of Parliament Andy Fillmore said authorities were working to bring other members of the Barho family to Canada to support Kawthar Barho.

The tragedy provoked an outpouring of sympathy across the country, with a fundraiser for the family bringing in nearly C$500,000 (Dh1.4 million) in just a few days.

The seven small white coffins were accompanied by a guard of honor before being transported to a Muslim cemetery near Halifax.

Updated: February 24, 2019 01:55 PM

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