Mourners bade farewell yesterday to a toddler who perished in a townhouse fire Monday night.
Pallbearers carried the casket of Khalid Ali, 2 — covered in a black cloth printed with a verse in the Qur’an in yellow — to a gravesite in the Muslim section of Highland Park Cemetery in Carp. Dozens gathered as relatives pulled away the cloth to reveal a small pine casket.
In a service in Arabic, mourners remembered a boy they described as happy and loving. They prayed together before taking turns filling in the grave with shovels and gloved hands.
The child of Abdi Ali and Fatuma Hersi died after fire gutted unit 90 of 1500 Caldwell Ave. just before 7:30 p.m. The couple has six other children, who were unharmed.
In following with Islamic tradition, no women, including Khalid’s mother, attended the funeral. Colleagues of Ali, a city bus driver, along with the principal and several teachers at W.E. Gowling Public School, where Khalid’s siblings attend, also paid their respects.
“You have our sympathy and empathy,” Abdi Rizak Warsame, the boy’s great-uncle, told Ali. “We support you.”
“Thank you all for … going through this with the family,” he told mourners. “It’s a very cold day and the wind is blowing, but we feel warm from the support that we give each other.”
Ali didn’t speak, but later embraced funeral goers and thanked them for attending.
“All the support we got here was wonderful,” Warsame told Metro. “It’s good for the family.”
The Somali Centre for Family Services and the Carlington Community Centre are organizing fundraisers for the family, who came from Somalia 18 years ago.