A clear picture of Ahmed AbdiKarim Eyow, the Minnesota man killed in last week’s explosion in Somalia, emerged Sunday as more than 100 mourners gathered to remember him and raise money for his family.
In a gymnasium at Dar Al Farooq, Eyow’s Bloomington mosque, co-workers recalled his friendliness and dedication to quality work. The principal at his children’s school recollected his passion for education. A close friend called Eyow the most compassionate person he had ever met.
Eyow, 50, had been visiting Kenya and Somalia on a short trip to see about job opportunities and visit family. He died in his hotel room after a truck bomb went off nearby, killing more than 350 people.
The Somali government attributed the bombing to Al-Shabab and is expected to formally declare war on the extremist group soon.
Family members, including Eyow’s wife, Ruun Abdi, a daughter and two sons, attended the event but didn’t speak publicly.
Abdi sat toward the back wearing a black hijab. She said she’s happy about all the support the family has received, including from people she’s never met.
Life will become harder when the publicity dies down and she is alone in her house, without her husband and best friend, she said.
“My husband, he was everywhere,” Abdi said. “I’m going to miss him so much.”
“Our support for Ahmed and his family won’t end with this event,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR Minnesota. “This is only a beginning.”
In Somali and English, speakers at the event prayed, remembered and vowed to work toward a concrete goal — paying off the mortgage on the family’s home, in accordance with Islamic tradition.
And because Eyow had wanted to build libraries in Somalia, a charity called the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa will kick off a fundraising campaign to do that, Hussein said.
Siad Ali, Minneapolis school board member and outreach director for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, read a statement from the senator offering her condolences after the horrific bombing.
The principal of Bloomington’s Valley View Middle School, Megan Willrett, said when she first came to work at the school, Eyow and his wife welcomed her and immediately asked if there was anything she needed from them. Willrett — who joked that Eyow and the family were her favorites — promised that the school district would support Eyow’s children.
Eyow’s daughter, Yusra, attends Valley View and his older son Yonis went there before moving on to high school. Another son, Yahya, is in elementary school.
Eyow worked as a welder at Emerson, a St. Louis-based energy company, since 2009, said Megan Helling, a manager at the company. She recalled how Eyow had started at Emerson in another position but asked right away about opportunities for growth. He eventually went back to school to learn welding.
Supervisor Lutalo Bowens said Eyow had eagerly joined the company’s medical response team so he could help people in emergencies, and often helped co-workers study if they were in school.
“He went out of his way to make people happy,” Bowens said.
As of Sunday night, Eyow’s Go Fund Me page had raised about $15,000.