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

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

RDN to form new group to replace Northern committees

Recreation commissioners disappointed with the decision

Second delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives March 21

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Most Read