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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Most Read