Public funeral to take place Saturday for 7 children killed in Halifax house fire

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Public funeral to be held for 7 children killed in Halifax house fire
WATCH: The seven children killed in a house fire Tuesday morning will be laid to rest on Saturday. Alicia Draus has the details – Feb 22, 2019

Funeral arrangements have been made for the seven children who died in a house fire in Halifax earlier this week.

A public funeral will take place Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Cunard Centre on Marginal Road.

READ MORE: ‘She called the father, she woke him up’: Details emerge about Halifax fire that killed 7

The Barho children — Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2 and four-month-old Abdullah — all perished when fire swept through their Spryfield house just after midnight Tuesday.

Their father, Ebraheim, remains in hospital after receiving serious burns, while their mother, Kawthar, is said to be distraught.

The Imams Council of Nova Scotia will be officiating a public funeral for the children.

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According to the Ummah Mosque, the funeral will begin at 1:30 p.m., with a service that starts at 2 p.m.

The mosque notes on its Facebook page that the funeral will follow in the Islamic traditions and the public is welcomed to participate.

Ibrahim Al-Shanti, the imam for Al-Barakah Masjid Mosque, says the funeral will be short and feature a prayer.

“What we urge everybody, just to be cautious not to approach the mother. She will be there. She don’t want anybody to take photos or talk to her, Just leave her alone let her grieve,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini says a large venue was chosen for the funeral because so many people want to take part.

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“The Muslim community reached out the municipality and said, ‘Look we really want to open up this to the community,'” he said.

“They understand it’s not just the community of Spryfield, the Syrian community, the Muslim community that’s feeling the pain — it’s the entire municipality.”

Following the funeral service, there will be a burial at a Muslim cemetery in Hammonds Plains.

Mancini says buses will be organized to and from the Cunard Centre to accommodate those who wish to attend.

Effort to bring family members to Canada

There has been a political and community effort to bring members of Kawthar and Ebraheim’s family members from overseas to Nova Scotia to be by their side in the wake of the tragedy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday during an event in Halifax that government was “looking at what can be done within our system to give this family a little solace at a time of unbelievable tragedy.”

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore echoed that sentiment and said immigration applications were being filed.

“I think it’s absolutely critical that we get these family members here as absolutely quickly as we can,” Fillmore said Thursday.

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READ MORE: Political and community effort to reunite Syrian family after Halifax fire claims 7 children

Outpouring of support

Meanwhile, Nova Scotians — and Canadians — are reaching out to help the Syrian refugee family that came to Canada in 2017.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $514,000 by Friday afternoon and has a $1-million goal.

Local businesses are also raising money and donating proceeds.

Vandal Doughnuts on Gottingen Street announced they had raised $5,025 on Thursday, when customers lined up outside in a snowstorm to take part in the fundraiser.

The Barho family had originally settled in Elmsdale, N.S. when they first arrived in the country. Those close to the family say they were planning on moving back to the community and were preparing to move out of the Spryfield house next week.

Councillor Stephen King, who represents Elmsdale-Belnan told The Canadian Press a non-denominational vigil will be held for the Barho family at Riverview United Church at 7 p.m. Friday.

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He says neighbours had really embraced the children and the family had been an important part of the community.

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“You’d see the child out by the house, or by the church and the little general store – or they would be walking up to the mall. Everybody got to know them… They seemed to be a real good fit with the community,” he said.

He went on to say that the younger children were picking up English as a second language quickly, and had left a mark on community members.

“They were always polite and, everyone will tell you, they were always smiling,” he said.

“I was always impressed with the oldest boy. He seemed to be mature beyond his years. Of course, you never know what they are shouldering.”

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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