More than a thousand family, friends, and members of the community arrive at the funeral for the seven Syrian refugee Barho siblings in Halifax on Saturday, February 23, 2019. The siblings, who died in a house fire earlier in the week, are survived by their parents. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Turnout at funeral for 7 young Halifax fire victims shows widespread support: imam

More than 2,000 people showed up to the service for 7 young kids who died in the blaze

The massive turnout at a funeral for seven young victims of a devastating house fire shows that Halifax is uniting in support of the surviving members of the family, according to the spiritual leader of a local mosque.

More than 2,000 people showed up to the service at the Cunard Centre on Saturday, which was held in memory of the Barho children who died in the early hours of Feb. 19 when the blaze ripped through their home.

“The accident affected all people,” said Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Umma Mosque, noting that every seat in the cavernous hall was filled, while hundreds remained standing in solemn grief over the young lives lost.

The Barho family arrived in Nova Scotia in September 2017 as refugees from war-torn Syria, among 1,795 Syrian refugees who have come to Nova Scotia in recent years.

On Saturday, as the seven small caskets were brought on stage, the children’s mother, Kawthar Barho, could be heard sobbing.

Mourners wept as the children’s names were read: teenager Ahmad; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2; and Abdullah, who was born in Canada on Nov. 9.

Yousri said the service was made public so the children’s mother could see firsthand that the community is standing behind her.

“We wanted to accommodate the community … and show Kawthar the support that we saw from the community,” he said. “We wanted her to see that, and we thought that the support might help her recover sooner.”

The father, Ebraheim Barho, continues to recover from extensive burns. As of Friday, he was in critical but stable condition.

READ MORE: People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving fire

READ MORE: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

When they first arrived in Nova Scotia, the Barho family lived in Elmsdale, a 30-minute drive north of Halifax, where they were embraced by the local community. They later moved to the Halifax suburb of Spryfield to take advantage of language training and other immigrant services, but had planned to return to Elmsdale next month.

The cause of the blaze in their Spryfield home remains unclear.

The response to the tragedy has been swift and impassioned: several businesses have donated their profits to the Barho family, and as of Sunday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign has raised over $620,000 of its $1 million goal.

The federal government has also said it’s trying to bring Kawthar Barho’s overseas relatives to Canada as quickly as possible, since she has no other relatives in the country.

Yousri said more than anything, the grieving mother needs to be supported and loved.

“Pray for her future and to be able to recover, and give back to herself and laugh again — especially while Ebraheim is still in the hospital,” he said.

Alex Cooke, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man and a youth arrested after vehicle theft, police assaulted

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to break and enter at Rural Property - Arrests

Congratulations to West Country School graduates

WCS graduates celebrate night of success

Red Deer man arrested in connection with Leduc armed robbery

Leduc RCMP asking for public assistance after armed robbery – UPDATE

Leduc RCMP seek older suspect in alleged assault

Leduc RCMP seek public assistance in identifying assault suspect

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read